By now you all are most likely aware of the President’s deficit reduction plan proposing to turn back time and reintroduce the 75 percent Compliance Rule for IRFs. If this proposal is enacted the patient access to rehabilitation hospitals will be significantly limited and some IRFs and IRUs will be forced to reduce bed count or even close. This proposal includes IRFs in the group of care providers nursing homes, home health services and teaching hospitals who have consistently exceeded costs and may account for excess spending.
The argument here is to limit Medicare spending by what amounts to a quota system driven by an arbitrary designation that a patient’s need for rehabilitation is determined by a diagnosis or condition. Professionals in the IRF sector must challenge this proposal with an immediate response to Congress to exclude IRFs from the perception of excessive cost and utilization guilt by association.
At the same time IRFs must improve the ability to select, admit and discharge patients to community settings to differentiate the value and efficiency of IRF provided rehabilitation care when compared to other post acute care providers.