Medicare rules about physical therapy

Submitted on Thursday October 30th, 2014

You may have heard that Medicare stops paying for physical therapy unless the patient is making progress. The thinking used to be that if a patient had "plateaued," more therapy was not productive.

Helping someone stay at his or her current level of ability, however, is a worthy goal in itself. For instance, your relative may be unsteady when getting up from a chair. He or she may never get much steadier. But ongoing physical therapy can help your relative stay at his or her personal best. Without it, your loved one may have a greater likelihood of falling. And each fall opens the possibility of surgery. Or the inability to live without extra help.  

It is important that patients not get worse! In that light, Medicare will now pay for ongoing physical therapy. But it must be shown that the treatment will improve, maintain, or prevent decline in your loved one's condition.

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