The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is changing how it describes locum tenens arrangements. Effective June 13, CMS will use the term “fee-for-time compensation arrangements.” The reason for the change is that the 21st Century Cures Act, which Congress passed in 2016, uses the term “locum tenens” to refer to both fee-for-time compensation arrangements and reciprocal billing arrangements. CMS says the change will avoid public confusion and remain consistent with the law.
Also effective June 13, CMS will allow physical therapists (PTs) who work in Health Professional Shortage Areas, Medically Underserved Areas, or rural areas to follow the same reciprocal billing and fee-for-time compensation arrangements as physicians. Specifically, this means a PT can engage a substitute PT to perform outpatient therapy services and continue billing under the first PT if the first PT is unavailable to provide the services. The second PT cannot provide the services continuously for more than 60 days unless the regular PT is called or ordered to active duty as a reserve member in the U.S. armed forces.
The CMS has published additional information in a Medicare Learning Network Matters article.
– Kent Moore, Senior Strategist for Physician Payment for the American Academy of Family Physicians
Sign up to receive FPM's free, weekly e-newsletter, "Quick Tips & Insights," featuring practical, peer-reviewed advice for improving practice, enhancing the patient experience, and developing a rewarding career.