Billing for Specialized Therapies in Skilled Nursing Facilities: Coding and Reimbursement

The healthcare landscape is in a constant state of evolution, necessitating that skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) stay current with the latest trends and regulations to ensure the accurate billing, coding, and reimbursement of specialized therapies. In this blog post, we will delve into the complexities of billing for specialized therapies in SNFs, exploring the most recent developments in coding practices and reimbursement trends. At 24/7 Medical Billing Services, we are committed to assisting SNFs in navigating this intricate terrain and optimizing their revenue cycles.

Understanding Specialized Therapies in SNFs:

Specialized therapies, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology, are instrumental in the rehabilitation and well-being of SNF residents. These therapies are administered by skilled professionals to enhance the residents’ functional abilities and independence.

However, billing for specialized therapies can be intricate, given the dynamic nature of healthcare regulations, coding changes, and reimbursement updates. To ensure precise and timely reimbursement, SNFs must remain well-informed about the latest practices and best methods in the field.

Latest Developments in the Field:

  1. Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM): One of the most significant alterations in SNF reimbursement recently is the transition from the Resource Utilization Group (RUG) system to PDPM. Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) is a value-based reimbursement model that emphasizes the individualized needs of patients rather than the volume of therapy services provided. A comprehensive grasp of PDPM is crucial for SNFs aiming to optimize their reimbursement.
  2. ICD-10 Coding Updates: Accurate coding forms the foundation of correct billing and reimbursement. SNFs should stay abreast of the most recent updates to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) coding system to ensure compliance and the submission of accurate claims.
  3. Documentation and Medical Necessity: Thorough documentation holds paramount importance. SNFs must ensure that their therapy services are meticulously documented, illustrating medical necessity and the effectiveness of treatments. This documentation is critical for substantiating claims and averting denials.
  4. Telehealth Services: The COVID-19 pandemic has expedited the adoption of telehealth services in healthcare, including in SNFs. Understanding the billing and coding requisites for telehealth therapy services is crucial for Skilled Nursing Facilities interested in providing care remotely.

Coding for Specialized Therapies

Precision in coding is vital for accurate billing and reimbursement. Here are some coding considerations for specialized therapies in SNFs:

  • ICD-10 Coding: Assign the appropriate ICD-10 codes that reflect the resident’s condition and justify the need for therapy services.
  • CPT Codes: Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes are used to delineate the specific therapy services provided. Ensure that the codes correspond with the type and duration of therapy.
  • Modifiers: The judicious use of modifiers is crucial. For instance, the -GP modifier designates physical therapy, while the -GO modifier indicates occupational therapy. These modifiers help payers identify the type of therapy being billed.

Reimbursement Trends:

As SNFs adapt to shifts in reimbursement models like PDPM, it is essential to stay apprised of the latest reimbursement trends:

  • Value-Based Care: The healthcare sector is transitioning to a value-based care model, accentuating positive patient outcomes and cost-effectiveness. SNFs should concentrate on delivering high-quality therapy services that result in improved resident outcomes.
  • Data-Driven Decision-Making: SNFs can harness data analytics to assess the impact of therapy services on patient outcomes and reimbursement. Data-driven insights can guide care plans and enhance revenue optimization.
  • Audit Preparedness: With heightened scrutiny of billing practices, SNFs must be prepared for audits. The establishment of robust compliance programs and the regular conduct of internal audits can help evade penalties and denials.


Billing for specialized therapies in Skilled Nursing Facilities is a multifaceted process that requires a profound comprehension of coding practices and reimbursement trends. Staying updated with the latest developments is indispensable for SNFs seeking to optimize their revenue cycles, offer top-tier care, and adhere to regulatory requirements.

At 24/7 Medical Billing Services, we are unwavering in our commitment to supporting SNFs in surmounting these challenges and achieving financial success while delivering outstanding care to residents. Our team of experts is well-versed in the latest industry insights and can provide comprehensive billing and coding solutions that cater to the specific needs of your facility.

Contact us today to discover how we can bolster your SNF’s billing and reimbursement endeavors.

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