Guest Blog: Olly, Olly, Oxen Free

‘Olly olly oxen free’ is a catch phrase used in children’s games, like Hide and Seek, to indicate that the players in hiding can come out of hiding without penalty, generally because the game is either over, the players need a break, or the rules are changing.

Well, as 2014 roars ahead in reimbursement for PT services, don’t you ever feel like hitting the pause button and claiming ‘olly olly oxen free’?   If we consider all the complexity of payment rules for all the different settings in the practice of physical therapy, it is mind boggling and just when you think you know the situation, it changes again.  Also, have you ever noticed that we are acronym crazy in this alphabet soup world? For instance, to name a few, CMS has promulgated  the MPPR, PQRS, the FLR G-codes, ICD-10, CCI edits, and is waiting on SGR reform?  Whew…..  enough to give anyone a headache.

The good news in all of this is that we continue to grow as a profession – the public continues to hand over copays for our service (although too high as insurances have deemed us specialists) and consumers continue to seek out our services and choose our value over surgery or self treatment.  We know who we are as physical therapists and what we can do to help people in unique ways that no other profession does or can do.  So, when I need to “reset” my perspective away from the minutia of billing and coding cobwebs, my version of ‘olly olly oxen free’ is to reflect on the basics of the art and science of physical therapy and transform that knowledge and skill set into what I can accomplish for my immediate patient in terms of outcomes,  satisfaction, and value in what we do to help others.

What a great time to be a Physical Therapist!

Don Walsh, PT, DPT, OCS

Walsh serves as Vice President of the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia and is the Director of Outpatient Rehab at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.


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