A Complete Guide To Remote Therapeutic Monitoring
Over time, technological advancements have changed the world to a greater extent. Particularly, since the outbreak of COVID-19, healthcare sectors are undergoing progression due to growing health issues in the world population. In addition, social distances are new normals, leading the world to remote preferences. Therefore, remote patient monitoring (RPM) plays a substantial role in the health industry.
Among these monitoring services, remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) connects patients to their respective doctors via online means. This system, introduced by the American Medical Association (AMA), aims to monitor patients’ health conditions using digital devices and technology-based services. The remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) system collects and analyzes patient data with the aid of these devices and stays updated with patients’ health conditions. In addition, experts keep an eye on patients’ daily life to list hazardous health activities and inform the patients.
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Let’s look at the details of remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) systems, their services, the CPT codes, and how physical therapists can benefit from them.
What is Remote Therapeutic Monitoring?
In particular, remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) is a service-providing system concerned with tracking the non-physiological data of patients. As a result, doctors can monitor patients’ health conditions. In addition, this system enables doctors, clinics, and hospitals to connect with patients via online tools and digital technology.
Remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) is different from remote patient monitoring (RPM), as RPM is concerned with monitoring the physiological data of patients. RPM uses particular devices to focus on blood sugar levels, blood pressure, heartbeat, and oxygen levels. However, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) designed new codes for RTM systems so that they can further expand the scope and utilization of telehealth and telemedicine by using digital devices.
Remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) is primarily concerned with monitoring two statuses; the respiratory system and musculoskeletal system. Furthermore, the system enables service providers to monitor medication and patients’ adherence to therapy. In addition, remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM), proposed by CMS, can scan the home exercise compliance of the patients who use these medical devices.
Remote Therapeutic Monitoring & Physical Therapy
With the new codes for Remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM), CMS has introduced a new chapter to the physical therapy industry. These codes will enable physical therapists to communicate with people via online modes and generate more significant revenue. At the same time, these codes will help work towards a stable healthcare system for those who cannot regularly move for their therapeutic sessions, i.e., people from remote places.
The RTM codes also allow physical therapists to connect to more surgeons and hospitals. By doing so, they can generate revenue and play a role in taking digital care of patients with musculoskeletal issues. This initiative by CMS will also motivate people to use digital health technology for better health outcomes via online modes.
New RTM codes may also increase the ratio of people attaining physical therapy. Research has revealed that many patients who need physical therapy do not get it due to traveling or cost constraints. This initiative by CMS can generate a positive digital healthcare management system for the public body.
Physical Therapy CPT Codes 2022
CMS introduced five codes with great reimbursement chances for physical therapists. These codes bridge the gap as these services can perform well for therapists who could not bill CMS previously. These codes refer to particular services to promote online physical therapy, fewer social contacts in hospitals, promotion of digital devices, and physical therapists’ revenue. Let’s look into these codes.
RTM CPT code 98975
The very first CPT codes for remote therapeutic monitoring is 98975. This code concerns providing initial information to patients about the utility of the services and applications. This code is specific to the inceptive steps required for systemizing RTM equipment.
RTM CPT code 98977
The second code, 98977, is concerned with providing tools and devices to patients with musculoskeletal health issues. Under this code, digital devices are supplied (one device or sometimes two). This code must be reported every month or once within 30 days. Moreover, the reporting comprises daily routine schedules and transmission alerts for remote therapeutic monitoring.
RTM CPT code 98980
CPT code 98980 concerns treatment management services for remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM). Physiotherapists and doctors are supposed to spend 20 minutes with the patient once a month. Moreover, it is also necessary to have a communicative and interactive session with patients. This code is for musculoskeletal status and respiratory systems.
RTM CPT code 98981
CPT code 98981 is for treatment management services, specifically 20 additional minutes of interactions. Once the 20 initial minutes are complete, service providers or physical therapists are expected to give additional minutes for the musculoskeletal and respiratory statuses of the respective patients.
Impact of RTM on Physical Therapy in 2022
With new RTM codes comes new opportunities for both patients and therapists. Patients leverage remote therapeutic monitoring with a few clicks and touches on their mobile screens. Similarly, the service providers can get reimbursed by using the right strategies. For reimbursement, it is important to submit the right codes.
Among the above RTM codes, you will find four of them relevant to musculoskeletal systems, which means; physical therapy. Therapists can get reimbursed by focusing on these codes and providing medical help to outpatients. CMS remote therapeutic monitoring 2022 has divided the codes based on the services and management systems.
By using codes 98980 and 98981, they can access the time range. It refers to the total time therapists, doctors, or service providers spend evaluating their patients’ health conditions. These codes help to keep track of work history from the provider’s end.
However, RTM codes 98975 and 98977 are used for other purposes. Through these codes, CMS monitors the supply of digital devices to the relevant patients and those looking for these services. Moreover, these codes also provide the required instruction to run these devices for practical applications. In short, these codes help people learn how to best use these devices.
What are the benefits of CMS remote therapeutic monitoring today?
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched a range of Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM) CPT codes. The five codes refer to different therapeutic management services that benefit patients and physical therapists.
Physical therapists who could not bill their services earlier can now do so by using these RTM CPT codes. The CMS has specified rates for each code so that therapists can now get reimbursed. Understanding the need for physical therapy, CMS has taken this initiative to benefit the ecosystem by providing online services which will benefit both the providers and patients.
Additionally, these codes can benefit patients with diseases such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, bone fracture, and tendonitis. Moreover, patients with respiratory diseases need quick and timely help, especially after the outbreak of COVID-19.These patients have difficulty traveling, particularly from remote areas. Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM) will assist these patients by providing home-based services and access to expert physical therapists.
Can RTM change trends in physical therapy?
The simple answer is YES! We all know that telehealth is the future. There are multiple reasons for it. Due to COVID-19, many patients don’t want to go to hospitals for regular consultations, check-ups, and physical therapy sessions. Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM) has added feasibility for patients to avoid contact with germs.
Let’s say a patient with bone fractures is brought to the hospital. After the necessary treatment, doctors have to discharge the patient. However, we know the importance of aftercare for musculoskeletal issues. To encounter the problem, the doctors can take assistance from Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM) services.
By doing so, doctors and physical therapists can connect to the patients via online healthcare systems. They can keep an eye on patients’ daily routine, activities, and factors that may elongate the recovery periods. This is how Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM) can affect patients’ healthy lifestyles.
The SmartClinix SmartCart provides state-of-the-art Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) in almost all general fields of medicine. Be it respiratory, musculoskeletal, or cardiology, the Remote patient monitoring system is modern, the staff is equipped with the latest technology, and you can avail of the services on a very reasonable budget. You can also contact their emergency team working for multiple health departments that are always there to help you in case of any emergent situations.
Dr. Josh is a physician who's helping spread the knowledge about Telehealth and its advantages. At SmartClinix, he's providing his expertise and knowledge in the form of engaging articles on various health & tech related topics.