The CMS is also proposing to require rehabilitation hospitals to record how much and what type of therapy patients are receiving. This would involve tracking, for instance, when patients are receiving physical, occupational or speech-language therapy, and whether it's delivered in an individual, group or co-treatment setting. The policy is intended to address concerns that some facilities are relying too heavily on group therapy.
“We understand that group therapy remains a widely used mode of therapy in the IRF setting … but we believe that it would be inappropriate for IRFs to provide essentially all therapy in the form of group therapy because we do not believe that this is in the best interest of the patients,” the CMS says in the proposed rule.
The agency is considering using the data it collects to propose limits on group therapy in the facilities.
A separate draft regulation calls for inpatient psychiatric facilities to get a payment increase of 1.9% to 2.1%—facilities in rural areas would see a larger bump. Overall the centers are in line to receive $100 million more in fiscal 2015 than they did in fiscal 2014.
Finally, skilled-nursing facilities would see a 2% payment increase, up $750 million from fiscal 2014, the agency says in another proposed rule.
A trade group for the nursing home industry responded favorably to the proposal. “These centers have shared in the sacrifice plenty through multiple government reductions over recent years,” Mark Parkinson, CEO of the American Health Care Association, said in a statement.
Comments on all three rules are due by June 30.
Follow Virgil Dickson on Twitter: @MHvdickson