Some changes are coming to physical therapy and occupational therapy under an L&I claim. The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) issued a news bulletin earlier this week. In the bulletin, L&I announced it’s debuting a new progress report for physical and occupational therapy. The progress report form can be found on the L&I website.

 

What is changing?

The form is intended for use by physical and occupational therapists for standard outpatient services. According to L&I, the purpose of the new progress form is to encourage implementation of “best practices”. In short, L&I is trying to standardize formatting, as well as facilitate better communications between treatment providers. Other benefits of the new form include improving patient engagement and tracking functional outcomes better than before.

 

Currently, the use of the new form is voluntary. However, L&I intends to make this form mandatory for everyone by the Summer of 2020. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea for providers to familiarize themselves with the form now.

 

Monitoring progress in physical and occupational therapy in your L&I claim

I’m always a little leery when L&I pushes “best practices”. That’s because I worry that it restricts the providers’ ability to implement their own experience and opinions. Yet, I am hopeful that this form will improve access to therapy services. In my experience, L&I often denies continued physical therapy and occupational therapy because it’s difficult to ascertain whether the injured worker is making positive functional progress.

 

I hope that standardizing progress reports will help improve that assessment. I’m also hopeful that L&I will be able to quickly approve additional therapy to maintain momentum and functional progress. However, as is the case with any change, only time will tell how this new form will impact work injury claimants’ ability to access physical and occupational therapy services.