Senate approves bill including moratorium on 75% rule

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The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a proposed spending bill for 2005 that includes a one-year moratorium on the so-called 75% rule.

Under the proposal, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would contract with the Institute of Medicine to determine appropriate standards for a facility to qualify for Medicare reimbursement as an inpatient rehabilitation facility. The bill responds to ASHA and other rehabilitation groups' request for a review of the rule's relevance to current practices. CMS had proposed revisions to the 75% rule, but ASHA argued the changes were irrelevant now that significant medical care transformations have taken place. The forerunner of the 75% rule was created in 1984.

The bill, which advanced out of committee Wednesday, also determines funding levels for specific Department of Health and Human Services programs.

The bill now goes to the Senate floor for a vote on passage and then for conference with the House version.