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October 13, 2004

Inpatient Rehabilitation Outcome TrendsImplications for the Future

JAMA. 2004;292(14):1746-1748. doi:10.1001/jama.292.14.1746

The goal of inpatient rehabilitation is to provide efficient care to patients with potentially disabling conditions to optimize physical and cognitive function and to discharge to the least restrictive setting, ideally to home. To benefit from inpatient rehabilitation, patients must be medically stable so that ongoing medical problems do not interfere with participation in therapy. To qualify for inpatient rehabilitation, patients must be able to participate in at least 3 hours of rehabilitation therapies a day and demonstrate improving function.1,2 The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently estimated that 660 000 patients annually receive inpatient rehabilitation, with 70% funded by Medicare. For 2003, Medicare payments for inpatient rehabilitation were $5.9 billion.1 Despite these large numbers, rigorous information regarding outcome trends and the impact of changes in CMS regulations for inpatient rehabilitation is limited.

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