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How Do We Quantify Function?

The American Journal of Occupational Therapy recently published an editorial article called “Quantifying Function: The Rest of the Measurement Story.” The article talks about how the Occupational Therapy profession is dependent upon defining functional progress in objective ways in order to survive as a profession with all the new reimbursement changes.

Medicare is now requiring G-codes for all outpatient services. The codes are meant to show patient progress. If a patient is not progressing, Medicare may not reimburse for the services rendered. This can be very challenging for therapists, and the AJOT editors argue occupational therapists are affected the most.

Many therapists, whether they are occupational therapists, speech therapists, or physical therapists, are very upset about Medicare changes, as many treatments therapists perform are not measurable. Again, the AJOT editors state that therapists do not really have a choice. Therapists need to find a way to embrace insurance regulations.

While it is easy to become frustrated by the changes, perhaps we need to look at this as a good thing. Measuring progress will allow the therapy professions to prosper as therapists will now quantify their role in the healthcare process.

Follow the link below to the article.  Also, the article provides some very useful functional tests to start using with patients in order to follow Medicare G-codes.

http://ajot.aotapress.net/content/67/1/7.full.pdf+html

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