Lawmakers seek to undercut therapy's "75% Rule"

Share this content:

Nine senators have injected new energy into the battle over where certain rehabilitation patients should receive services. Their bill, S. 543, would hold the criteria for obtaining inpatient rehabilitation facility status at its current level, 60%, instead of 75%.

Current federal rules say that 75% of all admissions must come under certain categories for a facility to achieve IRF status, and the higher reimbursements that comes with it. The administration has pushed the higher percentage, partly on the theory that many rehab patients can be served more cheaply elsewhere, such as at skilled nursing facilities. The threshold has been gradually raised over the last two years and is scheduled to rise to 65% July 1, and then 75% a year later.

The hospital lobby has vehemently opposed the so-called "75% Rule" since it went into effect, claiming some patients were not receiving appropriate services. A government report released last year, however, found that the rule was not cutting off services to patients in need.

Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), John Kerry (D-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Preserving Patient Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospitals Act on Monday.