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Call to Action: Share Your Feedback with CMS

Call to Action: Share Your Feedback with CMS

OT practitioners, it’s not too late to make your voices heard by CMS!
 
As you may already be aware, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is seeking feedback on its Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Proposed Rule for Calendar Year 2023. AOTA is in the process of finalizing a comment letter that will be submitted on behalf of organizational members, highlighting key areas of concern noted in the proposed rule and advocating for better access and reimbursement for occupational therapy services under Medicare Part B.
 
In this rule, CMS proposes a 4.4% decrease to the conversion factor and confirms continuation of the 15% payment cut for services delivered in whole or in part by an OTA. CMS proposes additional codes that may be delivered via telehealth after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, but occupational therapy practitioners will only be able to access those codes for 151 days beyond the PHE since we are not considered permanent telehealth providers.
 
AOTA has been continually advocating on these issues and AOTA’s voice is strong, but we are stronger when the voices of our members are raised in support of the needed changes to keep our profession alive. 
 
We encourage members to share your personal story with CMS on how these cuts and policies are impacting your practice. This doesn’t have to be a formal comment letter—it can be a few sentences, a case example, or a paragraph on the struggles you face every day in delivering quality occupational therapy services. 
 
CMS needs to hear from you that continued cuts and lack of access to telehealth services after the public health emergency will have a direct impact on Medicare beneficiary access to timely, medically necessary occupational therapy services. 
 
Comments are due to CMS by September 6, 2022 at 11:59pm. We hope you’ll take a few moments to share your real-world experience with CMS.
 
Your advocacy efforts will make a difference!!!
Thank you for your membership!
FOTA
 

An evidence-based guide to combining interventions with sensory integration in pediatric practice: A book review

An evidence-based guide to combining interventions with sensory integration in pediatric practice: A book review

by: Gustavo Reinoso, Ph.D., OTR/L and Thomas J. Decker, Ed.D. OTD, OTR/L

Because of the complexity of the clients we assess and treat utilizing sensory integration, we often wonder about how we can best address a family’s needs by incorporating other approaches during our busy practices. The concept of combining and blending approaches is not new. In 1995, Blanche, Botticelli and Hallway published a textbook “Combining Neuro-Developmental Treatment and Sensory Integration principles: An Approach to Pediatric Practice.” The textbook was well-received among clinicians

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Wake up to the occupation of sleep: Its importance in the older adult

Wake up to the occupation of sleep: Its importance in the older adult

by: Anette Bullard, MEd, COTA/L and Anjali Parti, OTD, OTR/L 

WAKE UP TO THE OCCUPATION OF SLEEPEveryone has experienced having to power through the day after a night of not sleeping well with every aspect of the day feeling more challenging due to your lack of sleep. The National Institute of Health (2017) identifies sleep as one of the most important occupations for maintaining all aspects of health. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018) has recognized sleep deprivation as a public health problem with broad, negative effects on safe occupational performance. For the older adults the challenges brought on by age compounded with a lack of sleep can further decrease successful occupational performance. Many age-related changes tend to disturb patterns of sleep and the myth that older adults need less sleep is actually incorrect (Suni, 2022b). The older adult is confronted with additional sleep obstacles such as, chronic conditions, medications, diminished physical activity, and decreased cognitive exercise, all of which have all been associated with decreases in sleep satisfaction. The resulting downward spiral of poor sleep results in less successful occupational engagement. The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework includes ‘rest and sleep’ as an area of occupation and defining occupational therapy practitioners as qualified professionals to assist clients with the occupation of rest and sleep (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2020). This brief article seeks to assist practitioners with identifying resources and awareness for more consistently addressing the occupation of sleep in the older adults. 

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Lymphedema Basics: Increasing Client Occupations

Lymphedema BasicsLymphedema Basics: Increasing Client Occupations

by: Candice D. Young E.d.S., COTA/L, CLT

Increasing independence in occupations is what occupational practitioners are known for. For many experienced clinicians, it is a daily routine recognized through experience through evidence-based practices. However, many clients suffer from diseases uncontrolled by either primary or secondary causes resulting in delayed healing or ongoing therapy services. The growing anxieties of past medical history, congenital conditions, or surgeries are not always straightforward nor understandable, and the complications may be unknown. Lymphedema could be lurking in the foreseeable future for many with no current cure and awaiting breakthrough treatments (Schaverien and Aldrich (2018).  

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The pelvic floor: The muscle group we all should know more about

The pelvic floor: The muscle group we all should know more about

by: Sujata Martins, MS, OTR/L, CD

Out of sight, out of mind is a common saying for most and unfortunately tends to be applied to the pelvic floor. By learning to take care of our pelvic floor, most of us can avoid embarrassing accidents, as well as spending money on incontinence products, medications, and even surgery. It is also extremely valuable for pregnant women in order to prepare for delivery and postpartum healing, and plays an important role in intimacy. 

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Integrating research into fieldwork experiences: Benefits for practitioners, students, and faculty

Integrating research into fieldwork experiences: Benefits for practitioners, students, and faculty

by: Annemarie Connor, PhD, OTR/L, Sarah Fabrizi PhD, OTR/L, and Adrienne Yaryan, OT-S, and Kevin Ortiz, OT-S

As new occupational therapy programs continue to develop, it has become more difficult to find fieldwork (FW) sites for students since practitioners are less willing to supervise students due to the lack of resources, limited time, and questions of student preparedness (Varland et al., 2017). Unfortunately, this predicament is now exacerbated in the era of COVID-19. Emerging practice fieldwork sites, largely focused on prevention and health promotion in community-based practice, have been one mechanism for creating meaningful and productive fieldwork sites during this increasingly challenging landscape (Clarke et al., 2015; Dancza et al., 2013). 

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Telehealth value and future considerations in pediatric occupational therapy practice to support innovation and healthcare equity

Telehealth value and future considerations in pediatric occupational therapy practice to support innovation and healthcare equity

by: Elizabeth Morejon, OTD, OTR/L, CSIPT,  and Evelyn Terrell, OTD, MS/HAS, OT/L

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(DOH) issued a press release last week containing guidelines related to the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria for Children and Adolescents.

As you may know, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) issued a press release last week containing guidelines related to the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria for Children and Adolescents
 
As stated, the press release is guidance and does not create a requirement for health care practitioners.
 
According to our practice framework, and regardless of condition or diagnosis, occupational therapy practitioners support clients by offering evidence-based treatments which affirm the lived experience, encourage exploration of identity, provide a safe and supportive environment, maximize strengths and resources, reflect on consequences of treatment approaches, facilitate participation in preferred roles, and prevent loss of engagement in meaningful occupations. 
 
Clinicians with specific questions regarding the guidance should contact the DOH directly. 
 
Clinicians should also feel free to reach out to [email protected] with comments, concerns or to speak with practitioners familiar with these topics. 
 
FOTA will continue to share information as it becomes available.
 
Sincerely,
 
Your Government Affairs Team"

OT Scope of Practice Legislation Stalls in Senate

OT Scope of Practice Legislation Stalls in Senate [Government Affairs]

The 2020-2021 Legislative Session was the first of its kind for the State of Florida. In response to the global pandemic, the State Capitol closed its doors to the public around March 2020 and only reopened to the public in May of 2021. During this time legislators and relevant stakeholders met virtually for committee meetings, to provide testimonies, and execute the legislative process that, by Florida law, usually requires physical presence. Despite these challenges, the Florida Occupational Therapy Association (FOTA) was still able to continue service throughout to its constituents by advocating for an updated OT Scope of Practice (Scope).

The Occupational Therapy Practice Act had not been updated in over two decades. For the past two years, FOTA has been working with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the Florida Board of Occupational Therapy, and our sister professions to thoughtfully modernize language that reflects current & future practices. Prior to the start of the 2021 legislative session, FOTA enlisted the sponsorship of Representative Traci Koster and Senator Jennifer Bradley. These Bill sponsors were chosen because of their known track record for service to Florida’s citizens and involvement in committees that administer bills of this nature. The Governmental Affairs committee for FOTA and legislative representatives, Johnston & Stewart, vetted language with House and Senate staff while reviewing the language with key personnel from the Department of Health and Board of Occupational Therapy. FOTA’s Scope Bill was filed early to allow ample time for movement through committees. The House Bill 543 passed its two committees of reference and the entire House chamber unanimously. The Senate Bill 990 passed 2 of its 3 committees unanimously. When it was time for the final Senate Appropriations Committee vote, the Bill was surprisingly left off the agenda. Communication with the Appropriations Chair and the President’s office revealed no concerns other than they simply ran out of room on the agenda. It was sometime later FOTA learned the primary limiting factor was technical language included within the Bill referencing the Gardiner Scholarship Program (GSP). Because the GSP was repealed and merged into a different program during the same session, certain language in the OT Scope was rendered obsolete which ultimately prevented inclusion into law this session.

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Occupational therapy leadership perspectives used to facilitate faculty retention

 

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The new normal: Supporting post-pandemic independence within the home and community health setting

The New normal: Supporting post-pandemic independence within the home and community health setting

Since March 2020 the world has continued to evolve and change to meet the restrictions and demands of what is known as COVID-19. Twenty-one months later we continue to track outbreaks and attempt to prevent the spread through handwashing, masking, and social distancing, as well as develop treatments that are scientific and alternative. Both healthcare workers, including occupational therapists, and clients are experiencing difficulties in the areas of occupations of work, self-care, and leisure due to COVID-19 and the associated restrictions (Sithong, 2021). However, with states lifting restrictions, clients and practitioners are hoping to return to their pre-pandemic lives despite the occupational imbalances and hardships they have undergone.

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Medicare OTA payment differential

The Medicare OTA payment differential went into effect on January 1, 2022 and many occupational therapy practitioners still have questions regarding what the policy means for OTAs. 
 
Additionally, AOTA has resources that are immediately available. Please feel free to share this recording of the Special OTA Confab: Legislative and Regulatory Changes with your membership. The recording provides both the legislative background of the policy and a detailed discussion of when the modifier should be applied. An article and video can also be found on the AOTA website on how to apply the modifier and an easy to read handout is linked here.

Contemplating the Capstone

Contemplating the Capstone

by Pamela Kasyan-Howe, OTD FOTA SIS Fieldwork

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Virtual Reality in Occupational Therapy

Virtual Reality in Occupational Therapy

By Jonathan E. Urrely, OT-S and Carlos Martoral

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ASSESSING STUDENTS’ CLINICAL REASONING ON FIELDWORK

ASSESSING STUDENTS’ CLINICAL REASONING ON FIELDWORK

By Maria A. Colmer, OTD, OTR/L, Associate Professor, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Florida Gulf Coast University, OT Program, FLOTEC

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Motivation: An important factor in adherence to home programs for patients with chronic conditions

Motivation: An important factor in adherence to home programs for patients with chronic conditions

By Kristin Domville, DrOT, OTR/L and  Kaye Rubio, Ph.D., MHS, OTR/L, CLT-LANA,

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Joint effort with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Department of Elder affairs in a home modification program.

Joint effort with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Department of Elder affairs in a home modification program.

Eligible providers will have 60 days to complete the application for funding. Providers must apply by February 14, 2022.

FOTA's Government Affairs is proud to announce a joint effort with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Department of Elder affairs in a home modification program designed to enable older adults in Florida to remain in their homes, rather than move to nursing homes or other assisted care facilities. The goal of this program is to enable low-income elderly persons to remain in their homes through low-cost, low barrier, high impact home modifications to reduce older adults’ risk of falling, improve general safety, increase accessibility, and to improve their functional abilities in their home. The program requires that an occupational therapist play the lead role for the home modification team. 
 
Details are limited at this time. We anticipate the cap for home mods will be around $5,000 for each client, and are still working on identifying an appropriate reimbursement rate for clinician. The initiative will occur throughout Florida, so where ever you are, you are needed. We are encouraging OTs to register with AHCA as Medicaid providers to shore up our resources in prep for this influx of around $127 million dollars earmarked for this initiative.
Please review the following alert to learn more. 

Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Announces Application Period for Home and Community-Based Services Provider Funding

~The initial application period focuses on supporting providers with workforce recruitment and retention~
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) announced the initial application period for three components of the Agency’s Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) enhanced funding plan. Eligible providers will have 60 days to complete the application for funding. Providers must apply by February 14, 2022.
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, taking care of Florida’s seniors and most vulnerable residents has been and continues to be a top priority,” said Agency Secretary Simone Marstiller. “The Agency is pleased to invest this enhanced funding in Florida’s home and community-based services providers to strengthen their ability to recruit and retain staff to care for the most vulnerable and enhance the ability of these Floridians to receive care in a community-based setting.”
The three components included in the initial application cycle include:
  • •One-time provider stipend payments to support HCBS providers;
  • One one-time payments to aid eligible HCBS providers in recruiting and retaining qualified staff; and
  • Funding to support the purchase of delayed egress systems for group homes and adult day training centers.
More information on the application process and a list of eligible provider types can be found HERE.
The application process for eligible providers is to ensure appropriate measures are put in place to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. The Agency will announce additional application periods for remaining program components, which are expected to occur by April 2022.
Florida’s HCBS programs serve the state’s aging population, as well as individuals with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. For more information about Florida’s strategy for administering the increased FMAP funding for HCBS providers and to apply or obtain updates on upcoming application cycles, please visit: https://ahca.myflorida.com/hcbsapplication.

What is an OT Compact and How Does it Apply to Me?


FOTA OT COMPAQ

FOTA OT COMPAQ2

FOTA21 Conference: Student Poster Submissions

FOTA21 Conference: Student Poster Submissions

Here are some tips to follow when completing your student poster submission:

  1. First and foremost, make sure you submit your poster under student and not professional. This will help to decrease any added stress closer to conference when you realize you may have been placed in the wrong group. The conference committee goes off what you submit and will place your poster in the group accordingly.

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Occupational Therapy Practitioners as Leaders

Occupational Therapy Practitioners as Leaders

An others-oriented perspective is at the core of most occupational therapy practitioners. Occupational therapy (OT) is a holistic profession built on the ideals of being client centered and helping others live a life they deserve and value, which I believe is the reason many of us fell in love with the profession. Occupational therapists bring a unique, client-focused, occupation based, and holistic perspective to the table. With this viewpoint, we are given a responsibility to employ it in leadership, as it is increasingly valuable to healthcare as a whole.

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