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    Physical Therapists: Reimbursement for Electrical Stimulation of Wounds Coverage

    Since 1997, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has been persistent in its appeal to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a positive coverage policy with regards to electrical stimulation for wound care. According to CMS's decision, coverage only will be provided when electrical stimulation is performed by a physician or a PT, when services are applied in conjunction with standard wound care, and when initial treatment has exhibited no measurable signs of healing after 30 days. For continued coverage, chronic Stage III and Stage IV pressure ulcers, arterial ulcers, diabetic ulcers, and venous stasis ulcers must show measurable signs of healing and must be evaluated every 30 days during treatment.

    Final CMS directives affect PT services provided on or after April 1. "In addition to helping numerous Medicare beneficiaries," notes Dave Mason, APTA vice president for government affairs, "this policy enables reimbursement for physical therapists who use this intervention to treat Medicare patients."

    Sources: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2002, July 23). Medicare coverage policy ~ NCDs electrostimulation for wounds (#CAG-00068N). Retrieved January 30, 2003, from http://www.cms.gov/coverage/8b3-ii3.asp; E-stim coverage for wound care celebrated at board meeting. (2003, January 1). PT Magazine, 11(1). Retrieved January 21, 2003, from http://www.apta.org/PTmagazine/Current_Issue

    Patricia Cusimano
    Patricia Cusimano is a freelance writer based in Salisbury, Maryland.
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