Rock Star Status
Suddenly, without warning, therapy has been elevated in the SNF community. With facilities trying to recoup potential monetary loses from the brilliant move by CMS, we now rank above activities and even the hair salon. And, I might add, therapy seems to be on par with "The Price is Right" as far as importance in a daily routine.
Before I go any further, this might be a boom for PTAs in the job market arena. We are cheaper than a PT and our services are reimbursable. The "cheaper" here is what facilities will often look at when determining hiring practices and how much it will cost them.
The bad news is facilities that were once five days a week are turning to six- and seven-day-a-week therapy facilities. This is great for the patients except when a holiday (holy day) is looming and the patient refuses to participate.
"Too bad Mrs. Jones, you can thank CMS for me coming in here today. Your family can wait until I'm done seeing you for 65 minutes. I know it's your 90th birthday but we still need to do therapy, and no, you cannot play Bingo at 2:00 tomorrow because that is when you are scheduled for therapy." We had more leeway to accommodate the patients before October 1; now they are at our mercy of when we decide to see them.
Where was the APTA when all these new changes were being discussed? Did no one figure a rural therapist would have to work six days a week every week of the year and not take a vacation or get sick just so the facility can break even? Did no one mention therapist burnout prior to implementing the new rules of engagement? And is CMS ever going to fix the three-times-a-week therapy schedule without the hassle of EOT OMRA?
Putting all those questions aside, as long as I can keep singing along to Nickelback I will feel like a rock star in a SNF. Well, that is, until CMS comes up with another brilliant plan.