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Podcast Episode


Experts Ellen Strunk and Angie Kalasek are the guests on Cardium podcast to talk about the PDPM and the impact on PTs, OTs and therapy.

Patient Driven Payment Model: What It Means for Therapists

October 16, 2019

GUESTS: Ellen Strunk, PT and Owner, Rehab Resources & Consulting, Inc. and Angie Kalasek, Regional Manager, Aureus Medical Group (Therapy Division)


Cardium welcomes PDPM expert Ellen Strunk of Rehab Resources & Consulting Inc. to the podcast to talk about the new Medicare reimbursement model and its impact on therapists, patients, and skilled nursing facilities.

Ellen Strunk is an experienced leader in the field of physical therapy and has worked in various roles and settings as a clinician, manager and director. She’s the owner of Rehab Resources & Consulting, Inc. which specializes in helping customers understand payment systems in the skilled nursing facility and home health setting as well as outpatient therapy billing for all provider types. Ellen lectures nationally on the topics of regulatory compliance in the post-acute space and other clinical related topics within rehabilitation therapy. Ellen is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Healthcare Association, and other professional organizations within her specialty. She’s an expert in the Patient Driven Payment Model, otherwise known in the healthcare industry as PDPM.

Angie Kalasek of Aureus Medical joins Cardium for a podcast episode about PDPM, the new Medicare reimbursement model for skilled nursing facilities and how it impacts patients and therapists.

Angie Kalasek brings expertise from the staffing and recruitment perspective of healthcare. She’s currently the division manager of Rehabilitation Therapy for Aureus Medical Group which places healthcare professionals in hospital, outpatient, skilled nursing, and school settings. Angie has been dedicated exclusively to specialties within therapy for her entire 12 year tenure. She utilizes her knowledge of PDPM to effectively support therapists and help facilities best meet their workforce requirements.

The move toward a new Medicare payment model for skilled nursing facilities is in effect, shifting the focus of reimbursements from minutes and hours of therapy services to patient characteristics and outcomes. The roll-out of this model, which has been years in the making, means significant changes are in the here and now for facilities and therapists. What's different and what remains the same? How does PDPM impact PTs and OTs from a clinical standpoint and a career perspective? We go in depth with PDPM expert Ellen Strunk, who has walked the walk as a therapist and in various leadership roles, to get a complete picture of this model, its complexities, realities, and misconceptions. We're also joined by Aureus Medical's Angie Kalasek who shares her perspective from a staffing point of view and what she's hearing from therapists in the field.

Topics we cover in this episode include:

  • An explanation of the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), the why behind the transition, and how it differs from the previous reimbursement model
  • The effect of PDPM on therapy services and reimagining in relation to functional outcomes
  • Group therapy – how it comes into play under the PDPM model, perceptions, and its impact on patients, therapists, and facilities
  • The future for PTs and OTs. How does the PDPM model shift the availability of travel or full-time opportunities in the field, if at all
  • Adjusting to change from the perspective of the therapist
  • How PTs and OTs can thrive and best position themselves in the job market under this new model
  • Preparing for a career as a PT or OT – what students and new therapists should consider when entering the field
  • What’s on the horizon for PDPM and for physical and occupational therapy

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services / Patient Driven Payment Model

Includes fact sheets, FAQs, training presentations, and resources.

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) / Patient Driven Payment Model

The official site of the APTA with a section devoted to PDPM.

American Occupational Therapy Association / Patient Driven Payment Model

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association / Patient Driven Payment Model

Full transcription

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