While skilled care organizations are welcoming the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s vote for limited site-neutral payments, rehab providers remain strongly opposed.

“MedPAC’s decision today fails to consider the long-term impact of diverting Medicare beneficiaries into less intensive rehabilitation settings despite their clinical needs,” said American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association Chairman Bruce M. Gans, M.D.

The Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation argued that such a shift would divert patients who need inpatient hospital rehabilitation to less intensive settings such as nursing homes based on their diagnosis rather than care requirements.

“MedPAC made the wrong decision to achieve cost savings at the expense of vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries who may be denied the intensive and coordinated rehabilitation,” stated Susan H. Connors, president and CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America, and a member of the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation. 

Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, was similarly skeptical of the change.

“MedPAC commissioners endorsed a proposal that pretends two very different levels of care are the same,” she said.