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2017 Medicare Updates Affecting Physical Therapy

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For Medicare Patients At the beginning of each year, an annual deductible is due before Traditional Medicare Part B will pay for any treatment. The 2017 Traditional Medicare Part B deductible published by Medicare.gov is $183.00.  Any Patient that has Traditional Medicare Part B  must first meet this annual deductible of $183.00 before claims will be paid.

You may receive a bill from our office which may reflect your responsibility towards this annual deductible.  In addition, the Medicare Physical Therapy cap for 2017 is $1980.

Secondary Insurance Coverage: If you have medicare coverage plus a secondary, remember to also call your secondary insurance company to find out coverage including deductibles and other out of pocket expenses.

Click here for more information about Part B Traditional Medicare costs and coverage from Medicare.gov

The above link will take you to Medicare.gov

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How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body

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I love yoga and believe it can be an incredible way to improve strength, movement and flexibility.  But sometimes, we can take any activity, hobby or form of exercise a little too far.  This attached link is a repost from a New York Times Magazine article that I found interesting and unfortunately true.

 Yes, I have seen a number of injuries that Glenn Black talked about in the article, some life threatening that occurred during someone’s yoga practice. Here is the link. 

How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body

Enjoy the article…. But don’t think that I’m saying yoga is bad.  We just have to think sensibly. 

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How to Get Your Medicare Patients Assistance with Medicare Questions? A SHIP Can Help!

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A State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is a free insurance counseling service provided by the Administration on Community Living and in partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and state aging agencies to assist Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers with Medicare information throughout the year as well as during Medicare’s Open Enrollment from October 15th – December 7th. Every state has a SHIP program, but it may be called a different name. For instance, Minnesota’s is called the Senior Linkage Line. As a Medicare provider, there may be a time when you will need to refer a Medicare patient and/or caregiver to obtain more information on Medicare and Medicaid’s benefits. A SHIP can help!

SHIPs answer questions about Medicare, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Medicare Part C Advantage Plans (such as HMO, PPO, private fee-for-service (PFFS), etc.), Medicare Part D, long-term care financing options, other prescription coverage, and low-income assistance.
SHIPs provide free, impartial information to help consumers make informed decisions regarding their health care choices. Each SHIP strives to help Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers to be wise consumers and to get the most value for their health insurance dollars.
What Can SHIPs Offer?
Show Medicare patients how to evaluate Medicare Part A & Part B health insurance, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C), Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D), and/or long-term care insurance policies currently available

Teach Medicare patients to assess their needs so they can make informed decisions about their health insurance policies

Educate Medicare patients so that they can understand Medicare, organize their records, file claims, and appeal Medicare decisions

Inform Medicare patients of their rights as a Medicare beneficiary or health insurance policyholder

Refer Medicare patients to appropriate agencies where they can get help with other needs

Assist Medicare patients with finding help to pay for their health and prescription plans premium, deductible, coinsurance, and prescription costs

Provide educational materials and brochures on Medicare and Medicaid related benefits

Provide speakers to make presentations to large and small community groups, professionals, and other interested parties

Contact Your State SHIP! Below provides the State, SHIP Name, Phone Number, and Website:
Illinois SHIP
Illinois Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP)
Phone: 1-800-548-9034
Website: http://state.il.us/aging/SHIP
Minnesota SHIP
Minnesota State Health Insurance Assistance Program/ Senior LinkAge Line
Phone: 1-800-333-2433
Website: http://www.mnaging.org/
Wisconsin SHIP
Wisconsin State Health Insurance Information Program (SHIP)
Phone: 1-800-242-1060
Website: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/benefit-specialists/medicare-counseling.htm
Note: For all other state SHIP programs, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visitwww.medicare.gov or www.shiptacenter.org

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A home program called BrainBeat improves concentration and timing in less than 14 sessions

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In the comfort of your own home and in less than 14 sessions following the BrainBeat computer program we were able to improve our timing and coordination with activities requiring focus such as playing the trumpet and even getting ready for school. 

The fun and engaging BrainBeat exercises slowly increase difficulty and become more challenging  (sometimes to the point of frustration) which was a great learning lesson to work through.   

Takeaways:

My son and I have improved our ability to focus.

I have noticed that my son has increased his time on tasks such as working on homework assignments that he finds less interesting. 

What I did not expect:  

How quickly my son learned to stay on beat both during the BrainBeat exercises.

Improved timing and rhythm while learning to play the trumpet and keyboard.

Brainbeat has been a great tool and learning experience for my family and I recommend for both kids and adults over the age of 7. 

For more information click on this link. BrainBeat

Disclaimer: We have found Brainbeat to be extremely valuable and use brainbeat for personal use. We do not have any financial ties or incentives with BrainBeat.

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When to Use Ice vs Heat (Clearing the Confusion)

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The use of ice and heat are cheap self-treatment techniques to reduce pain with minimal side effects and risks.  This article is going to give you basic facts on when it is best to use ice or heat to reduce pain and/or swelling.  Use of ice and heat are the top two most common forms of quick pain-relief techniques for muscle and joint pain.  The decision between ice and heat is made depending on whether your pain is new or recurring.  In general, ice is for new injuries to treat inflammation and swelling.  Ice decreases the blood flow to the site of your injury, thereby reducing inflammation and swelling.  Pain that lasts for weeks can be treated with heat, which brings blood to the area to promote healing.

The information below can help you figure out when and how to use these inexpensive temperature-related techniques.

 

HEAT THERAPY

Heat works by opening up and dilating blood vessels to increase blood flow which supplies oxygen and nutrients to reduce joint, muscle, tendon and ligament pain.  Warming up of muscles brings a relaxation effect that decreases muscle spasms and improves flexibility and joint motion.  Applying superficial heat to your body can improve the flexibility of tendons and ligaments, reduce muscle spasms, and alleviate pain.

How to use Heat

Heat can be applied by using either either dry or moist warmth.  With repeated uses, dry heat may dry your skin.  Moist heat has been shown to penetrate better into the skin.  Sources of heat can be applied by an electric or microwavable heating pad, hot water bottle, gel packs, or hot water baths.  The heat should be warm, not too hot, and should be maintained at a consistent temperature, if possible. Ask your doctor or physical therapist which heat source would be best for you.

When to use Heat

Apply heat when you have are experiencing chronic muscle and/or joint pain. Heat also works well on stiff joints that are affected by arthritis.

How to use Heat Safely

Always wrap a thin towel over a hot device such as a hot pack to reduce potential risk of burning your skin.
Avoid using heat for longer than 20 minutes, unless advised by your doctor or physical therapist.
Be cautious when using heat if you have poor circulation or diabetes.
Avoid lying down on a heating pad because you can burn your skin if you fall asleep.
Do not use heat on an open wound or stitches.

ICE THERAPY (aka Cryotherapy)

Cold and ice slow down and constrict blood flow to an injury which reduce swelling and pain associated to swelling.  Cryotherapy can be used to reduce inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain. Examples: a new case of freshly pulled muscle, rotator cuff muscle or achilles tendonitis.

How to use Ice

Cryotherapy treatment is most commonly delivered using ice, cold packs or a bag of frozen peas.

When to use Ice

Use of ice is ideally used for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury. Ice therapy is good for sprains, strains and bruises that may occur in sports, falls, or just bumping into things.

How to use Ice Safely

Use cold packs or ice bags to injured areas for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Then remove the ice for 10 minutes and reapply it again for 10-20 minutes until the area is feeling better.
Do not apply ice for longer than 20 minutes. Also, wrap ice or ice packs in a thin towel before applying.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are unsure when is best to use heat or ice to an injury, call your health care provider’s office.

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Trigger Point Therapy Helps Migraine Sufferers

Trigger point therapy is a common technique we use in our clinic.  Here is story from MoveForwardPT that we see in our office everyday. 


Migraine Headaches Treated With Trigger-Point Therapy: Angelie’s Story

Angelie lived with migraine headaches for decades, experiencing 2-3 episodes per month that could last for several days. Physical side effects included nausea and visual disturbances, all of which caused Angelie to retreat from the life she loved, declining social invitations and professional opportunities in anticipation of yet another migraine.
She tried everything for treatment. Heavy doses of pain medication first. Then acupuncture, acupressure, diet modification, steroid and Botox injections, biofeedback, and massage therapy. Many of those treatments provided short-term relief, but Angelie struggled to find the kind of lasting results, free of problematic side effects, that would allow her to regain control of her life.
It wasn’t until a neurologist referred Angelie to physical therapist Claire Melebeck, PT, DPT, for trigger point therapy that Angelie escaped the cycle of migraine episodes that had plagued her for 30 years.
“I had immediate results with relief,” Angelie said. Headache episodes were shorter, and, more important, they were less frequent. Soon Angelie counted up to 12 consecutive pain-free days—a personal breakthrough. “I could not remember having that many pain-free days in a row since 1974,” she said.
Her physical therapist wasn’t surprised. Claire had long used trigger-point therapy to treat orthopedic conditions like shoulder impingement, patellofemoral pain, and iliotibial band syndrome, and she was confident the treatment could be effective in treating the effects of migraine headaches, too.
“I was getting patients better faster and more efficiently,” Claire said. “It was not 2 or 3 visits before they would feel a difference. It was 10 minutes of this treatment, and they would stand up and say, ‘Wow, that’s different!'”
Thanks to trigger point therapy, today Angelie’s life is much different than before. She’s working again, and she’s back to making plans with friends and family.
“It makes me feel like I’m truly living my life again, instead of sitting in my room sick,” Angelie said.
Listen to Angelie share her story about treating her migraine headaches with trigger point therapy on Move Forward Radio. 

To learn more click onto MoveForwardPT for more exciting stories. 

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Our Favorite Websites that look at primitive reflexes

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Below are some great websites of other movement based programs that look at the role of retained primitive reflexes on learning and behavior:

Claire Hocking
www.wholebrain.com

Peter Blythe and Sally Goddard Blythe
www.inpp.co.uk

Brendan O’Hara
www.movementandlearning.com.au

Martin McPhillips
www.primarymovement.com

Brain Gym – Paul and Gail Dennison
www.braingym.org

Cecelia Koester
www.movementbasedlearning.com

Body-Mind Centering – Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen
www.bodymindcentering.com

Handle – Judith  Bluestone
www.hangle.org

We are always looking for new ideas and Infirmation. Please send us any other resources you come across.

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Get the most our of your FSA

Patients don’t always get the full value from their Flexible Spending Account. Many often leave money on the table- money that could be used to fulfill their financial responsibilities for health care.

For example, many patients don’t realize that the majority of FSA plans allow patients to use the remaining balance two months and 15 days after the year’s end.

Another largely unknown FSA feature is early expense submission. Many FSAs allow patients to submit expenses before the amount is even withheld from their paycheck. This important feature helps patients fund therapy before they reach their deductible.

Feel free to email us with any questions you have about your FSA plans or health insurance.

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