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News & Updates: Regulatory Updates

CMS Allows PTs, SLPs To Perform Initial and Comprehensive Assessments in Home Health

Saturday, May 9, 2020  
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Provided courtesy of the American Physical Therapy Association - Home Health Section 

Note:  This is a federal waiver; a state waiver for Arizona is being coordinated and we will advise when it has been approved by the state - until that time, please continue to follow the existing regulations.  


CMS has updated its FAQs to allow PTs and SLPs to also perform initial and comprehensive assessments for home health patients when both nursing and therapy are ordered.


Please see the revised FAQ below.


Allow Occupational Therapists (OTs), Physical Therapists (PTs), and Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) to Perform Initial and Comprehensive Assessment for all Patients. (Revised since 4/30 Release)

CMS is waiving the requirements in 42 CFR § 484.55(a)(2) and § 484.55(b)(3) that rehabilitation skilled professionals may only perform the initial and comprehensive assessment when only therapy services are ordered. This temporary blanket modification allows any rehabilitation professional (OT, PT, or SLP) to perform the initial and comprehensive assessment for all patients receiving therapy services as part of the plan of care, to the extent permitted under state law, regardless of whether or not the service establishes eligibility for the patient to be receiving home care. The existing regulations at § 484.55(a) and (b)(2) would continue to apply; rehabilitation skilled professionals would not be permitted to perform assessments in nursing only cases. We would continue to expect HHAs to match the appropriate discipline that performs the assessment to the needs of the patient to the greatest extent possible. Therapists must act within their state scope of practice laws when performing initial and comprehensive assessments, and access a registered nurse or other professional to complete sections of the assessment that are beyond their scope of practice. Expanding the category of therapists who may perform initial and comprehensive assessments provides HHAs with additional flexibility that may decrease patient wait times for the initiation of home health services.


For more information, review this document from CMS: referenced section is on Pages 18-19

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