In the News

Resources About Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Care for Veterans with Alzheimer’s or dementia is provided throughout a full range of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care services.

Based on the Veterans’ needs, services may include Home Based Primary CareHomemaker and Home Health AideRespite CareAdult Day Health Care, outpatient clinic, inpatient hospital, Nursing HomePalliative Care, or Hospice Care

Caregiver Support is also an essential part of these services. If you’ve been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or are caring for someone who has, become familiar with the types, stages, symptoms, and treatments.

Over 50 video and print resources have recently been added to the sections on:

Topics include daily plans, communication, behavior changes, next steps, and more. The Veterans Health Library has helpful resources about Coping with a Dementia Diagnosis.

Need more help or information? Find a VA social worker in your area or visit www.va.gov/Geriatrics.

 

Now Available - Home Health Care 101 Webinar Recording

Originally Recorded: Wednesday, May 24, 2023

This interactive session is designed to provide students and practicing therapists who may be contemplating home health care employment with a broad understanding of what this setting has to offer. A variety of topics will be covered including variation of home environments, reimbursement, regulation, quality/satisfaction reporting, clinical interventions, problem-solving, and case study. The session will also touch on common myths, employment opportunities, benefits, challenges, technological advances, student affiliation, and entry level practice. Participants can expect to become well informed of home health practice and gain a better understanding as to whether or not this setting may be of interest in their career.

Speaker:

Chris Chimenti earned his Masters of Science in Physical Therapy degree from Slippery Rock University in 1997. He is currently employed as the Senior Director of Clinical Innovation at HCR Home Care, a Rochester-based certified home health care agency operating across Upstate New York State. He has over 23 years of experience in the home health setting and is an accomplished speaker at both regional and national conferences on the topics of home health practice and regulation, clinical research, student affiliation, care redesign, and joint replacement rehabilitation. Chris has conducted a number of studies throughout his career across a variety of special interest areas including falls prevention, Parkinson’s Disease management, evidence-based standardized measures, pain assessment, sepsis screening, total knee replacement rehabilitation, and home health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chris has served APTA Home Health in a variety of leadership roles including Research Committee Chair, Treasurer, and Vice President.

*Please note - this webinar does not have CEUs. 

To view the recording, click here: https://vimeo.com/831647012/31c3b6d752?share=copy 

 

 

Debt Ceiling Deal: What’s in, What’s Out of the Agreement to Avert US Default

AP News | By Kevin Freking and Farnoush Amiri

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have reached an agreement in principle on legislation to increase the nation’s borrowing authority and avoid a federal default.

Negotiators are now racing to complete the bill’s text. McCarthy, R-Calif., said the House will vote on the legislation on Wednesday, giving the Senate time to consider it before June 5, the date when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States could default on its debt obligations if lawmakers did not act in time.

While many details about the deal are unknown, both sides will be able to point to some victories. But some conservatives expressed early concerns that the compromise does not cut future deficits enough, while Democrats have been worried about proposed changes to work requirements in programs such as food stamps.

A look at what’s in and out of the deal, based on what’s known so far:

TWO-YEAR DEBT INCREASE, SPENDING LIMITS
The agreement would keep non-defense spending roughly flat in the 2024 fiscal year and increase it by 1% the following year, as well as provide for a two-year debt-limit increase — past the next presidential election in 2024. That’s according to a source familiar with the deal who provided details on the condition of anonymity.

VETERANS CARE
The agreement would fully fund medical care for veterans at the levels included in Biden’s proposed 2024 budget blueprint, including a fund dedicated to veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances or environmental hazards. Biden sought $20.3 billion for the toxic exposure fund in his budget and Republican negotiators ensured Sunday that funding was left untouched.

WORK REQUIREMENTS
Republicans had proposed boosting work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents in certain government assistance programs. They said it would bring more people into the workforce, who would then pay taxes and help shore up key entitlement programs, namely Social Security and Medicare.

The agreement would expand some work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. It would raise the age for existing work requirements from 49 to 54, similar to the Republican proposal, but those changes would expire in 2030. The White House said it would at the same time reduce the number of vulnerable people — including veterans and people who are homeless — of all ages who are subject to the requirements.

Many of those changes will sunset in 2030, allowing Congress to measure the effectiveness of these changes and make changes if need be.

UNSPENT COVID MONEY
The agreement would rescind about $30 billion in unspent coronavirus relief money that Congress approved through previous bills, with exceptions made for veterans’ medical care, housing assistance, the Indian Health Service, and some $5 billion for a program focused on rapidly developing the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

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Big Win: CMS Extends Temporary Telehealth Use to All Facility-Based Settings

APTA

In what now amounts to a total reversal of its initial post-public health emergency policies around telehealth, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has listened to APTA and other organizations and will allow the provision of telehealth services across a range of facilities, just as they were permitted during the PHE. The major advocacy win means that PTs in skilled nursing facilities, home health, and rehab agencies can continue to provide remote services under Medicare Part B — although CMS has yet to say when those allowances might end.

As with an earlier clarification around hospital-based settings, the latest news from CMS comes by way of an FAQ document on post-PHE policies (see question 22). In the latest iteration of the resource, CMS says that therapy providers working across the range of facility settings can continue to provide telehealth services as they did via waivers granted during the PHE. The announcement follows an earlier, more limited reversal that applied only to telehealth provided in hospital-based facilities.

Originally, CMS' post-PHE telehealth policies appeared to exclude any facility-based provision of telehealth from coverage if that facility used a particular claim form, the UB04. APTA was among the first organizations to call attention to the inconsistencies and patient access problems with this position, and was joined by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association in advocacy to press CMS to maintain telehealth allowances across the board. While CMS warned that it could take some time to provide definitive guidance, in the end the agency's decisions arrived relatively quickly.

While the guidance from CMS is clearly good news for the physical therapy community and its patients, one major detail was left out — namely, if and when these telehealth allowances would end. In its earlier hospital-based telehealth decision, CMS stipulated that telehealth could continue through the end of 2023 in those settings. That ending date, opposed by APTA, doesn't jibe with telehealth end dates for PTs and PTAs in private practices, which are expected to be extended through Dec. 31, 2024. APTA, ASHA, and AOTA are pushing for answers, which CMS will most likely provide when it issues the 2024 proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Meanwhile, APTA and other organizations are pushing for lawmakers to permanently include PTs and PTAs in the list of providers allowed to provide telehealth services under Medicare.

"The conversations we were able to have with representatives from [the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] were extremely beneficial in helping CMS understand why it's so important to maintain telehealth allowances after the PHE, particularly for patients in rural and underserved communities," said Kate Gilliard, JD, APTA's director of health policy and payment. "We're extremely happy that CMS sees the value in continuing coverage."

 

In Wheelchair Win, CMS OKs Power Seat Elevation for Power Chairs

HomeCare News

Calling it a "landmark decision," the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced May 16, 2023 that it had, for the first time, made power seat elevation for power wheelchairs eligible for reimbursement as durable medical equipment (DME). 

CMS said effective immediately, seat elevation for Medicare-covered power wheelchairs is now considered a clinically meaningful benefit to people with Medicare who perform transfers from power wheelchairs or use their chairs for mobility-related activities of daily living such as dressing, grooming, toileting, feeding and bathing. DME advocates, mobility manufacturers and members of the disability community had urged CMS to issue the Benefit Category Determination (BCD) and National Coverage Decision.

“For too long, many people who use a power wheelchair could not access everyday items in their homes and may have struggled to get in and out of their device,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement. “This landmark Medicare decision to cover seat elevation is a major milestone that will improve the quality of life for so many who rely on this technology.”

Advocates called the decision a "win for wheelchair users and their caregivers." American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare), NCART, the ITEM Coalition and a wide variety of mobility user groups pushed hard for the move, spurring more than 5,000 public comments in two response periods. 

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