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Physical Therapist Vacation Coverage Options?

There are 2 primary options that exist for a private practice physical therapy clinic to hire an outside physical therapist to treat Medicare beneficiaries while another physical therapist is on vacation, maternity leave, or any other extended episodes.

  1. Option 1 – Hire a licensed physical therapist and reassign that therapist’s Medicare benefits to your private practice.
  2. Option 2 – Determine if your physical therapy clinic may qualify under the CMS locum tenens guidelines 2022.
CMS Locum Tenens Guidelines 2022 Physical Therapist Vacation Coverage

Option 1 – Reassignment of Benefits

The easiest option to cover a physical therapist’s leave of absence or vacation time is to hire a replacement therapist and reassign that therapist’s benefits to your business.

Reassignment of benefits is free to do and may be done in less than 20-minutes using the Medicare PECOS system.

5-Step Process to Reassign Benefits

Step 1: Ask the newly hired physical therapist for their personal NPI.

Step 2: Create a connection using that NPI between your private practice and the covering physical therapist.

Step 3: Log into your personal PECOS account then click on My Associates and scroll down to your business’s enrollments. Click on Enrollments and click View/Manage Reassignments.

Step 4: At the bottom right of the next screen you should see an option to Manage Reassignments. Clicking this link will allow you to create a new reassignment.

Step 5: Enter the therapists information including social security number and date of birth. The reassignment will process and be approved.

Note: A private practice physical therapy clinic may allow a hired physical therapist to start treating patients while the reassignment application is being processed.


Option 2 – Determine if CMS Locum Tenens Guidelines 2022 Apply

Where is Locum Tenens Available?

Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)

“A Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) is a geographic area, population group, or health care facility that has been designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as having a shortage of health professionals.” (link)

There are three categories of HPSAs:

  1. Primary Care
  2. Dental Health
  3. Mental Health

Medically Underserved Area (MUA)

“MUAs and MUPs identify geographic areas and populations with a lack of access to primary care services. These designations help establish health maintenance organizations or community health centers.”

Rural Area

Click to see a list of Rural Health Clinics

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