All healthcare professionals from physical therapists and occupational therapists to family physicians must now use remote monitoring if they want to be relevant in today’s healthcare service. RTM can also help you provide better patient outcomes while scaling your business by incorporating digital technologies to enhance your human services.

What Is Remote Therapeutic Monitoring?

Remote therapeutic monitoring treatment refers to the use of a medical device to monitor patient progress and collect non-physiological data in between medical visits. This remote monitoring can help PTs create better treatment plans through the use of client-specific data.

RTM is often used for remote monitoring of the respiratory system and musculoskeletal systems. Virtual monitoring includes the monitoring of treatment progression, adherence to treatment, and the collection of non-physiological data in between medical visits.

Non-physiological data can refer to subjective data like your patient’s self-reports on pain or whether or not they are sticking to their exercise schedule. This type of data is considered subjective and was previously difficult for healthcare professionals to bill for. That all changed in 2022 with the introduction of remote therapeutic monitoring RTM codes.

What Are Remote Therapeutic Monitoring Codes?

Remote therapeutic monitoring codes allow therapists like physical therapists and occupational therapists to bill for their remote monitoring work. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced remote therapeutic monitoring codes in January 2022. With the introduction of the CPT codes, CMS also provided more information about what falls under those codes.

According to CMS, RTM is the providing of remote care by eligible qualified healthcare professionals like physical therapists and occupational therapists. That care can pertain to the respiratory and musculoskeletal systems, therapy adherence, and therapy response. There are a number of CPT codes that fall under RTM, with each code pertaining to different levels of monitoring of patient data, reporting, and treatments.

CPT Code 98975

According to a November 2021 publication by the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), CPT code 98975 is defined as follows: “Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (e.g., respiratory system status, musculoskeletal system status, therapy adherence, therapy response); initial set-up and patient education on the use of equipment.”
You can use this code when you first set your patient up for remote therapeutic monitoring. That includes when you’re educating them about the device they’ll be using and setting the device up for them. Since you should only be doing the first setup once, you can only charge for it once. Of course, if you start a new treatment and need to do a new set-up and education session then you can bill again for a new round of treatment.

CPT code 98976

According to DHHS, CPT code 98976 is defined as follows: “Remote therapeutic monitoring (e.g., respiratory system status, musculoskeletal system status, therapy adherence, therapy response); device(s) supply with scheduled (e.g., daily) recording(s) and/or programmed alert(s) transmission to monitor respiratory system, each 30 days.”
This particular CPT code is specifically for the monitoring of the respiratory system over 30 days with scheduled recordings and alerts. So you’re reporting using this cpt code would include the device and the monitoring. You can bill this once for each month of treatment.

CPT code 98980

According to DHHS, CPT code 98980 is defined as follows: “Remote therapeutic monitoring treatment management services, physician/ other qualified health care professional time in a calendar month requiring at least one interactive communication with the patient/caregiver during the calendar month; first 20 minutes.”
So this CPT code is for any RTM where you have to have at least one interaction with your patient at least once a month for at least 20 minutes. This interactive communication can include you assessing your patient’s self-reported data and then using that data to decide on treatment and communicating your communication to your patient or their caregiver.

CPT code 98976

According to DHHS, CPT code 98976 is defined as follows: “Remote therapeutic monitoring (e.g., respiratory system status, musculoskeletal system status, therapy adherence, therapy response); device(s) supply with scheduled (e.g., daily) recording(s) and/or programmed alert(s) transmission to monitor respiratory system, each 30 days.”
This particular CPT code is specifically for the monitoring of the respiratory system over 30 days with scheduled recordings and alerts. So you’re reporting using this cpt code would include the device and the monitoring. You can bill this once for each month of treatment.

What Is The Difference Between Remote Therapeutic Monitoring And Remote Patient Monitoring?

If you’re wondering why there is a need for new RTM codes when the Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) codes already exist, it’s because they are two very different things. RPM codes are used for remote physiologic monitoring while RTM codes are used for non-physiological monitoring.

RPM means using a medical device to transmit data related to physiological factors like blood pressure levels, heart rate, weight, and more. Physiotherapy billing practitioners cannot use those codes to collect non-physiological data. With the new CPT codes for RTM, non-physiological data can be collected on things like pain tolerance, program adherence, and key information through self-reported data like how your client might be feeling on any given day.

In both cases, whether you use an RTM code or an RPM code, you must collect data through a medical device. That RPM or RTM device can include an app on a tablet or phone, which makes billing easier for primary billers in the therapy space.

Benefits Of Remote Therapeutic Monitoring In Physiotherapy

Remote care allows you to provide better care. That’s because you are no longer reliant on single in-person visits to create the most viable treatment option for your client. Instead, through the use of medical devices that can be digital self-reporting tools you can assess your client throughout their treatment journey. That means you get to monitor and adjust your treatment when necessary.

Additionally, thanks to the use of the RTM codes, you don’t have to do that additional work for free. You can use the various RTM codes to bill each part of the service you provide in between your visits. For example, instead of freely giving out monitoring devices and educating your clients on them, you can bill for those monitoring devices and the monitoring you provide.

Additionally, accessibility to frequent face-to-face interactions with a physical therapist can be difficult for folks living in smaller towns and remote locations. With RTM and RTM Codes for billing you have the opportunity to provide excellent care from afar. That allows you to monitor your patients beyond a single visit so you get a deeper insight into the problem, the obstacle, and the solution.

Why RTM Represents An Expansion Of Reimbursement For The Use Of Remote Monitoring Technologies

Previously, healthcare professionals may have used remote therapeutic monitoring but could not bill for it. They could not bill for the time spent in educating their patient about the device for monitoring, nor providing the device. The introduction of the RTM code means that organizations like the American Medical Association (AMA) which governs the use of CPT codes see the value in remote monitoring in both the physiological and non-physiological indicators of fitness and effectiveness.

There seems to be a clear change in value mission that now sees the ability sees value in your being able to offer that non-physiological monitoring whereas before it was only remote physiological monitoring that was valued and allowed to be billed.

Types Of Technologies And Tools For Remote Therapeutic Monitoring In Physiotherapy

There are numerous technologies you can utilize to use RTM codes for physiotherapy. You can provide your clients with wearable devices like accelerometers for tracking movement and exercise. This can help you determine program adherence and figure out early signs of other difficulties in movement and abilities.
You can also utilize mobile applications as medical devices to allow for self-reporting data from your patients. There is still thought research going into what apps should be considered medical devices for RTM codes. However, currently, if you provide a device to your client with an app that allows you to monitor non-physiological data, it is considered billable using an RTM code.

Is Remote Therapeutic Monitoring For You?

Remote monitoring in healthcare is here to stay. For physical therapists, it is especially important because relying on infrequent medical visits to ensure your treatment provides results is not enough. Patients expect more from their healthcare providers now, including the use of tech. Tech-enhanced healthcare allows you to access data previously unavailable to you. This in turn assists you in providing better patient outcomes.
Previously, it was difficult for healthcare practitioners to bill for non-physiological remote monitoring despite its benefits. With the new RTM code, health professionals like physical therapists can bill for all the time spent on care in between medical visits. The use of digital technologies to enhance the human services you provide makes your practice leaner and more efficient which can help you scale your practice and help more patients.

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What is Remote Therapeutic Monitoring?

Remote Therapeutic Monitoring involves leveraging technology to remotely monitor and manage patients’ health conditions. By collecting real-time data, analyzing it, and providing interventions without the need for in-person visits, RTM empowers patients to actively participate in their own care from the comfort of their homes.

The Benefits Of RTM

Several factors can influence exercise adherence to HEPs in physical therapy. Some of the key benefits include:

Key Billing Codes for RTM

In the United States, to facilitate reimbursement for RTM services, specific codes have been established. These codes include:

Choosing The Right Software

To effectively implement RTM, providers need reliable software that meets regulatory requirements and streamlines the monitoring process. When selecting software, consider the following.

FDA Approval

Ensure that the software and any wearable devices associated with RTM have the necessary approvals from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Integration and Features

Look for software that integrates seamlessly with electronic medical record (EMR) systems and offers features such as tracking exercise progress, providing patient reminders, and enabling easy communication between patients and healthcare providers.

Compliance Tracking

The software should have the ability to track patient compliance with exercise programs, device usage, and interaction with the RTM system, facilitating accurate billing and reporting.

try wibbi today

Ready to get started?

Physiotec’s RTM solution is available as part of the Enterprise HEP subscription

Request a demo