Please note that this article contains information that is only relevant to our American clients.
The short answer to the question posed by this article is “Yes–you can double-book your Medicare patients.” But, there are certain circumstances which need to be present in order for you to pull this off.
“We need to remember that no insurance carrier dictates how you schedule your outpatient therapy services,” Rick Gawenda of Gawenda Seminars and Consulting reminds us. In this article, we’ll be discussing when, and how, you can double-book Medicare patients.
While insurance carriers don’t care about double-booking, their primary concern is that the patient in question is receiving the utmost care and attention. And although it may sound counter-intuitive, the lead therapist doesn’t necessarily need to be present for the entire duration of an appointment to ensure that the patient receives said care and attention. For example, therapists may employ special assistants who are adept at overseeing treatment and assisting with exercises.
In Gawenda’s article, he describes one scenario in which patients can be double-booked. Check out the five steps outlining how this may happen below:
The therapist schedules two physical therapy appointments for 9 a.m. with Patient X and Patient Y.
The therapist provides 15 minutes of direct one-on-one therapy with Patient X. Meanwhile, Patient Y performs a warmup exercise.
When the 15 minutes have elapsed, the therapist will go and give Patient Y 10 minutes of direct one-on-one therapy. Patient X will now perform the exercises the therapist just taught them.
The therapist returns to Patient X and provides 10 more minutes of direct one-on-one therapy. At this time, Patient Y will perform the exercises they were instructed on.
Finally, the therapist will return to Patient Y and perform 15 minutes of one-on-one therapy. Patient X will continue to perform the new exercises that they were taught under the supervision of an assistant.
The therapist can cap off the therapy session with 15 minutes of unattended electrical stimulation on the applicable body part(s) and send the patients on their way.
In the above example, it’s key for the therapist to bill for correct amount of one-on-one therapy time, and any unsupervised treatment, such as the electrical stimulation mentioned above. In this case the therapist is able to bill for a total of 25 minutes of direct-one-on-one therapy, per patient. Mind you, this is only one illustration of how you can double-book your patients–it’s likely to vary in actual practice.