New Year Predictions

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The champagne is popped, the resolutions are made, and the ball’s been dropped. You’ve made it to another year. Maybe you’re looking forward to 2016 and all the changes it may bring, or maybe you’re looking to this New Year with apprehension. Whatever the case, NARA would like to take this time to (cautiously) predict a few trends we think we’ll see in the physical therapy world in the year 2016: Changes in how services are paid The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have outlined a plan for alternative payment methods, and have stated that their goal is to move up to 30 percent of all payments to one of these alternative methods by the end of 2016, and 50 percent by 2018. In response, the American Physical Therapy Association has proposed coding changes in how services are billed. The two organizations are working out how exactly these changes will be implemented, but we predict something will happen by the end of 2016 or the start of 2017. Protecting Data As more high-profile data breaches make the news, entities that deal with private data (such as those in the healthcare industry) will come under greater scrutiny for how they handle sensitive information. We predict that there will be a push for greater digital security within the healthcare industry as a whole. That may play out in what IT services you contract for, or in how you input patient data. Rise of telehealth High-speed internet continues to spread across rural America, while healthcare services have not. We predict that technology will play a greater role in bringing healthcare to rural areas, including physical therapy. Already, there are video conference classes that allow patients to interact with a physical therapist no matter where they live. Such classes will only become more common as high-speed internet becomes available to more Americans. We’ll have to wait and see if any of these changes come to pass, but given the trends of the last year, we think these things have a good chance of happening. In the meanwhile, you can bet that NARA has the best interest of your practice at heart!