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Many practice owners believe that physical therapy private practice compliance is a complex problem.  It doesn’t have to be.  In this post, we will outline exactly where you should start.

Physical Therapy Private Practice Compliance Points to Address

First, identify the regulations, laws, rules and policies that govern your work.  These could include:

  • Federal, state and local labor laws
  • State Practice Act and Licensing Requirements
  • HIPAA, HITECH and the Security Rule
  • Medicare
  • Other federal and commercial payors
  • OSHA
  • ADA

If you don’t know where to start, the APTA has a great resource with links to physical therapy practice acts in each of the 50 states.

Licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices and must be renewed on a regular basis, with a majority of states requiring continuing education as a requirement for renewal. PTs must practice within the scope of physical therapy practice defined by these state licensure laws (physical therapy practice acts). The entire practice act, including accompanying rules, constitutes the law governing physical therapy practice within a state.  Reference: APTA Website

Next review your existing policies and procedures.  Do you have them in place?  Are they updated annually including staff review and sign off?  Over 70% of a successful compliance program is having the appropriate written policies and procedures in place and understood by staff.  Policies really do matter!

As you implement your policies look at how you do your work. For example, email containing PHI must be encrypted.  Numerous programs are available to facilitate compliance with this requirement, but do you really need the added expense?  Review how often and in what instances you are sending PHI via email.  Perhaps the same outcome can be accomplished by using your EMR internal communications?  A little time looking at the process can save money, and even more time, in the long run.

Finally, create a culture of compliance.  The entire team must work together to ensure your practice stays compliant.  Share the ‘fun’ and have your staff involved in the ongoing compliance requirements. Have regular meetings to discuss successes and challenges.  Encourage suggestions to overcome compliance obstacles. Build a culture and compliance will no longer be a ‘task’ on a to do list but the way your practice moves forward every day!

BCMS is a full-service compliance consulting firm specializing in outpatient physical therapy practices.  Our focused, PT specific compliance program can help you meet all your compliance needs.  Contact us for more information.  We are the key to unlocking the compliance mystery!

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