CMS (Medicare) has “clarified” & “re-clarified” what direct supervision of Outpatient Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy means

Earlier this year CMS’s clarification meant that direct supervision for HBO therapy requires the physician to be in the department during HBO therapy – not just on campus, or on another floor of the hospital. After the voices of the medical community and hospital systems got louder, CMS re-clarified their change for 2010 to revert back to a more liberal interpretation of “direct physician supervision”.

How does this affect you?
Hospital administrators may require “you” to explain what your supervising hyperbaric physicians are currently doing at the center and how often the physician sees the patient throughout the course of the daily HBO treatment. What has helped me through this are the documents I have linked below. These documents provide the administrators and physicians a little more insight into the background of physician supervision for out patient services.

Where does this leave you when you are in a hospital outpatient hyperbaric department?
Unfortunately you are stuck with having to enforce the current regulation for the remainder of 2009, which means the physicians supervising hyperbaric oxygen therapy are required to be in the department whether you are on the hospital campus or not.

Here is an excerpt from Health Leaders Media: Despite several industry groups’ efforts to advocate for a moratorium on physician supervision requirements outlined in the 2009 OPPS final rule, CMS has stated that it will enforce its regulations for the remainder of the calendar year. The agency announced the news in its 2010 OPPS proposed rule released this month.

This means that hospitals must continue to ensure that supervising physicians are in the department in which the services are taking place, regardless of whether the services are on campus or off campus.

CMS Proposes to Relax Controversial Physician Supervision Requirements for Hospital Outpatient Services

Letter directed to CMS from the medical community

A copy of the 2010 proposed rule can be found by clicking here.

Original clarification by CMS as featured in a health care law firms newsletter.

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