Supervision of Students

May 11, 2015
Rick Gawenda

I receive several questions per week regarding the supervision requirements of student physical, occupational and speech therapists, student physical therapist assistants and student occupational therapy assistants when they are treating Medicare patients as well as patients with private insurance or under workers compensation. In this article, I will give the answers to the following questions I receive from an outpatient perspective:

  • Can students treat Medicare Part B patient’s?
  • Can students treat non-Medicare patient’s without the supervising therapist or assistant being present?
  • If the supervising therapist or assistant is treating one patient and the student therapist or assistant is treating another patient whose insurance allows the use of students and does not require the supervising therapist or assistant to be present, can I bill for the time each of us spent providing therapy services to the 2 patient’s?

The most frequent question I receive is can students treat Medicare Part B patient’s? The answer is

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  1. It is known that Tricare follows Medicare guidelines, however, we cannot find any language in the Tricare manuals stating anything regarding the supervision and billing of students. Since PTAs and COTAs were previously not considered to be providers (looking forward to this occuring), it is assumed that Tricare will not allow for a student to provide services while their supervising therapist is nearby treating another patient. Any information to support or further clarify is greatly appreciated.

    1. Tricare does not follow Medicare guidelines. Tricare has their own policies. Tricare only pays for the services when they are provided by a therapist.