It has been a very busy week preparing, as best we could, for the changes we're currently experiencing. Working in a hospital-based, outpatient rehabilitation center, there had never been a dollar restriction on the visits allowed through straight Medicare. Beginning Oct. 1, we've been making patients aware of the amount they've used since January. Unfortunately, many patients we've previously been treating had used up their dollar allotment before coming to our outpatient clinic, and we were not under the same rules as the freestanding clinics.
All that changed this past Monday, as we are in a "trial period" until Dec. 31, being placed under the same cap as our freestanding counterparts. Thankfully, our diligence in documentation has always been to only see those who required physical therapy, as we based the need on acute, functional changes the patient had experienced before attending our outpatient center.
To maximize the manpower of healthcare system, we're currently under a "staffing optimization" since last week, to be continued through next week. In addition, the beginning of every month requires us to verify Medicaid coverage for many of our patients as well. Our ancillary staff are shining bright, supporting the professional staff through these confusing changes, which in this clinic are proving to be quite stressful to the therapists, managers and our director.
It's a good thing we have our therapy dog present, as well as the front desk staff supplying chocolate and massages to the PTs, OTs and STs. On top of it all, those of us studying for our DPT are taking a little break for a few days. We have been working diligently to finish reading articles for our Direct Access class, and other DPT students from a different program are finishing up with their Pharmacology class. Perhaps it's time for a little team-building next week.
What activities have you done to promote team building? In the past, we've gone rock climbing, bowling, had picnics at the park, volleyball at the beach, played poker or just randomly got together. Ideally, something physical may be best to relieve the pressure the department has been experiencing. Time to start the planning now, only one more week to go!