30.2.2 - Principles for Determining Whether a Service is Skilled (Rev. 1, 10-01-03)
• If the inherent complexity of a service prescribed for a patient is such that it can be performed safely and/or effectively only by or under the general supervision of skilled nursing or skilled rehabilitation personnel, the service is a skilled service; e.g., the administration of intravenous feedings and intramuscular injections; the insertion of suprapubic catheters; and ultrasound, shortwave, and microwave therapy treatments.
• The intermediary considers the nature of the service and the skills required for safe and effective delivery of that service in deciding whether a service is a skilled service. While a patient’s particular medical condition is a valid factor in deciding if skilled services are needed, a patient’s diagnosis or prognosis should never be the sole factor in deciding that a service is not skilled.
EXAMPLE: When rehabilitation services are the primary services, the key issue is whether the skills of a therapist are needed. The deciding factor is not the patient’s potential for recovery, but whether the services needed require the skills of a therapist or whether they can be provided by nonskilled personnel. (See §30.5.) • A service that is ordinarily considered nonskilled could be considered a skilled service in cases in which, because of special medical complications, skilled nursing or skilled rehabilitation personnel are required to perform or supervise it or to observe the patient. In these cases, the complications and special services involved must be documented by physicians' orders and nursing or therapy notes.
Whirlpool baths do not ordinarily require the skills of a qualified physical therapist. However, the skills, knowledge, and judgment of a qualified physical therapist might be required where the patient’s condition is complicated by circulatory deficiency, areas of desensitization, or open...
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