Home Health & Hospice

Therapy Assistant FAQs

Homecare Insider, May 3, 2010

Here are some frequently asked questions about therapy assistants. 

Q: Must we visit the home every two or four weeks to supervise a therapy assistant?
A: The Conditions of Participation require supervision of licensed professionals, such as therapy assistants, but do not mandate any specific requirements.  An agency must establish a policy to promote appropriate supervision and performance of duties.  An agency must check its state licensure requirements for any specifics.

Q: Must a therapist cosign every skilled visit note written by a physical therapy assistant?
A: There are no requirements for a therapist to review or sign any piece of documentation generated by a therapy assistant.  However, reviewing documentation is an important part of supervision.  If the therapist does review visit notes, a signature is a good way to show the note was reviewed.  However, this should not be considered cosigning.  Cosigning means to document jointly with another person.

Q:    Can an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) do the discharge visit?
A:    Medicare coverage criteria recognize an OTA as a provider of skilled service and a skilled service can make the discharge visit.  However, if the visit involves the completion of the discharge assessment, the OTA cannot do this.  See the next question for more.

Q: Must the physical therapist complete the discharge OASIS or can the physical therapy assistant complete it under the therapist’s supervision?
A: The only disciplines qualified to complete the assessment with OASIS are registered nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists.  Licensed practical nurses and therapy assistants cannot complete assessments nor can their visits serve as the basis for an assessment. 

Day 2 of the Mastering Medicare seminar addresses issues related to therapy and therapy assistants.  The next seminar will be May 24 and 25 in Chicago.  For more information, click on — http://www.beaconhealth.org/item--2010-Mastering-Medicare-Seminar-Chicago-IL:-May-24-25--MMS_052410.html.