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Manage Required Therapy Hours

Written by: Mediware Bloggers on Monday, July 10, 2017 Posted in:

In most areas of the hospital, patients remain stationary in their rooms, and scheduling revolves around the care provider. However, inpatient rehab facility (IRF) patients are treated by a range of specialists during their stays and are often out of their beds. Issues arise when trying to balance scheduling among PTs, OTs, and SLPs, even radiologists, behavioral health specialists, and other health disciplines—all while ensuring compliance with the imposing three-hour rule.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires that IRF patients receive three hours of therapy per day, five days per week or at least 15 hours of intensive rehabilitation therapy within a 7-day period. If you cannot provide documentation that you hit these benchmarks (or at least had a realistic plan to hit them that failed due to unexpected patient problems), your payment will be denied.

Because of the wide range of assisting specialists, scheduling to comply with the three-hour rule requires an approach different from that of any other discipline. Not surprisingly, a traditional EMR can’t accommodate preparation of an IRF patient’s complex care plan. The result: highly paid therapists spending hours each day on manual scheduling activities. Furthermore, most IRFs use scheduling data tracked on paper, mapped on spreadsheets, or written on a white board. By tracking compliance of the three-hour rule outside of the hospital’s data system, you’re left without an automatic, permanent record of patient care. Without this documentation, you have no defense if your payments are denied.

This makes electronic, patient-centric scheduling critical. You need tools that allow teams of therapists to identify times when both they and their patients are available and can adapt quickly when patients are suddenly unable to complete scheduled sessions. MediLinks IRF Management can help solve these problems with interactive dashboards and automatic three-hour compliance reports.