Therapy aides and technicians are valuable members of the therapy team. However, I have seen them overused in their role and some therapists rely on an aide so much they are unable to carry out a treatment if the aide is not present.
One PT I spoke with stated they were not able to see everyone on the caseload because the aide went home early. Is that really an excuse?
Aides and techs have been described as an extension of the therapists and assistants. They are support personnel who are not allowed to provide skilled therapeutic interventions. Yet, I have seen the PT do a state mandated 5th treatment reassessment only to have the aide do 95 percent of the intervention.
Either this PT is really good at reassessments or decided to allow the aide to reassess so I could continue treating the patient.
The other item I have difficultly with is allowing the aides to treat Med A patients. They are often more acutely complex when they come into the SNF and it would seem the patients need a skilled, licensed professional to accurately assess their function on a daily basis. Yet, the aides are not allowed to see the Med B's when they are more medically stable as a general rule.
And why can't aides do groups? Med A allows aides to treat individually (line of site by the therapist) yet not in a group with a therapist present, does that make sense? I also read that some insurances are not paying for PTA treatments. Great, lets have an unlicensed person provide the intervention and bill the insurance at the PT rate of reimbursement.
I propose a national training and certification process for aides and techs with a clear delineation of their role in a therapy department. Then they could carry out treatments and bill at a lower rate of reimbursement.