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National MS Society and Coalition Partners Defend Rehabilitation Therapy for Medicare Beneficiaries

March 17, 2015

The Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation (CPR), which represents leading consumer, disability, and clinician organizations, expressed serious concern over the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s (MedPAC’s) recommendation released today to adopt “site-neutral” payment for certain Medicare patients in need of medical rehabilitation following illness or injury.  CPR believes the recommendation included in Report to the Congress: Medicare Payment Policy will inappropriately divert patients who need inpatient hospital rehabilitation to less intensive settings such as nursing homes based on their diagnosis alone, and not on their individual, medical or rehabilitation needs. 
 
The MedPAC Report recommends that Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospitals (“IRFs”) and Skilled Nursing Facilities (“SNFs” or nursing homes) receive SNF rates for certain patients with conditions that they assert can be treated in either setting.  The policy would apply in 2016 and be phased-in over a three year period.  The specific conditions subject to the site-neutral policy would be determined by the Secretary through rulemaking.
 
Kim Calder, Director of Health Policy of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, contributed to the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation’s (CPR) recommendations. Kim stated, “MedPAC’s recommendation on site-neutral post-acute care ignores data demonstrating different outcomes in care provided in different settings.  The level of intensity and coordination in rehabilitation hospitals and units is completely different from nursing homes and recent studies have demonstrated significant differences in patient outcomes in these two settings of care.” 
 
 

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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