As rehab rule nears, hospitals fight back

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As the nursing home industry begins to deliver more rehab care, a tough adversary has emerged: hospitals. Acute-care providers are in no hurry to see patients siphoned away, and they have stepped up efforts to delay or prevent full implementation of a federal requirement that would do just that.

In the wake of a new federal government study showing that implementation of the 75% Rule saves Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars, the nation's hospital lobby launched an ad touting hospital care as more appropriate.
"Americans rely on inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units to get the right care in the right place – at the right time," the ad says.
To be reimbursed as an inpatient facility under Medicare, 75% of a facility's patients must be treated for one of 13 specific conditions, according to the rule. Hospital officials argue that the set of conditions has not been adequately updated to reflect modern medical rehabilitation practices and advances.
Congress has already slowed a phase-in of the rule's implementation, adding a second year at the 60% level last year, before the phase-in ramped up to 65% last month. The rule will reach its 75% limit next summer.