A statement released by American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association (AMRPA) chairman Bruce M. Gans, MD, responds to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commissions’ (MedPAC) June Report to Congress, and its recommendation to implement a site-neutral Medicare payment policy for certain conditions treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, units, and skilled nursing facilities.

In the statement, Gans points out that while some medical rehabilitation services can be safely and effectively provided in a skilled nursing facility, inpatient medical rehabilitation hospitals and skilled nursing facilities are not the same, and should not be treated as such by Congress or Medicare.

Gans notes that the differences between the two care settings “can be found in the intensity of professional services provided as well as their mandated approach to rehabilitation and the resulting patient outcomes.”

According to Gans’ statement, a recent study suggested that patients treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units have better outcomes, go home earlier, and live longer when compared to clinically similar patients treated in skilled nursing facilities. The results also indicate, Gans says, that the patients achieved better outcomes in rehabilitation hospitals and units across all 13 conditions examined, including those now being proposed by MedPAC for site-neutral payments, in a shorter time with less facility-based care.

In the statement, the association encourages Congress, “starting at today’s House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing, to challenge MedPAC’s recommendation to push patients into a less capable care setting that produces poorer outcomes because it is the cheapest option. Instead, the policy should be based on improving patient health outcomes and ensuring patients receive the right care that allows them to return more quickly to their family, work and community,” Gans says.

“If MedPAC classifies rehabilitation hospitals and skilled nursing facilities as the same, they should be held to the same rehabilitation standards. A quality framework to accompany a site-neutral payment proposal would serve as a safeguard to ensure that patient outcomes are not compromised,” Gans adds in the statement.

The AMRPA is a trade organization committed to the interests of inpatient rehabilitation hospital and units, outpatient rehabilitation centers, and other medical providers, the statement reports. Its focus centers on collective advocacy in order to advance the field of medical rehabilitation and support the medical rehabilitation needs of persons with disabilities.

[Source: AMRPA]