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PTA Blog Talk

Bubble-Wrapped Profession

Published May 14, 2014 7:16 PM by Jason Marketti

I get tired of reading and hearing about the audit triggers in our profession. It's part of the business we're in and if people don't want to risk an audit, they shouldn't be in our field. It's like an audit from the IRS -- you don't want one, you don't know why you were chosen, but if you can back up all your data and information it shouldn't be a worry.

Multiple design changes have improved our electronic documentation, which better shows the skilled nature of what we do. If auditors really want a job to do, they should go back three to five years and read all the handwritten SOAP notes in clinics and facilities to figure out where the skill was and whether the treatments were justified. That's where the big repayments are for CMS.

Fortunately, for now, some of the audits have stopped (I heard they ran out of budgeting money) so businesses should have a short relief. But even so, if we're able to clinically justify what we do and why we do it, there's no need to be afraid of an audit. Good clinicians should have better data to support treatments and justification of time needed to get the patients back up and moving.

What I see in some facilities is the therapists doing the minimal amount of work and documenting a safe amount so they don't trigger any audits into what they do and why. Therapists may be afraid to try something outside of their comfort level, so the half effort is the safe bet to hide under the radar of scrutiny. If we're not able to clinically define an activity and give a true justification as to why we are or aren't doing a certain procedure, then we shouldn't be doing any therapy on any patient.

Too many therapists will take the safe road so they don't have to explain themselves to anyone in regard to what they're doing. We get paid a lot to do what we do and if we can't, won't or aren't willing to explain and justify our services to those who pay us, maybe an audit is just what we deserve.

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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