The physician’s/NPP’s certification of the plan (with or without an order) satisfies all of the certification requirements noted above in §220.1 for the duration of the plan of care, or 90 calendar days from the date of the initial treatment, whichever is less. The initial treatment includes the evaluation that resulted in the plan.

Timing of Initial Certification. The provider or supplier (e.g., facility, physician/NPP, or therapist) should obtain certification as soon as possible after the plan of care is established, unless the requirements of delayed certification are met. “As soon as possible” means that the physician/NPP shall certify the initial plan as soon as it is obtained, or within 30 days of the initial therapy treatment. Since payment may be denied if a physician does not certify the plan, the therapist should forward the plan to the physician as soon as it is established. Evidence of diligence in providing the plan to the physician may be considered by the Medicare contractor during review in the event of a delayed certification.

Timely certification of the initial plan is met when physician/NPP certification of the plan is documented, by signature or verbal order, and dated in the 30 days following the first day of treatment (including evaluation). If the order to certify is verbal, it must be followed within 14 days by a signature to be timely. A dated notation of the order to certify the plan should be made in the patient’s medical record.

Recertification is not required if the duration of the initially certified plan of care is more than the duration (length) of the entire episode of treatment.