DeJong G, Horn SD, Smout RJ, Ryser DK. The early impact of the inpatient rehabilitation facility prospective payment system on stroke rehabilitation case mix, practice patterns, and outcomes.
Objective: To determine the early effects of the inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) prospective payment system (PPS) on stroke rehabilitation case mix, practice patterns, and outcomes.
Design: Prospective observational cohort study.
Setting: Three IRFs in the United States.
Participants: Consecutively enrolled convenience sample of 539 stroke rehabilitation patients treated between 2001 and 2003 in 3 IRFs.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: Length of stay (LOS), therapy utilization, FIM instrument gain, and discharge destination.
Results: The IRF-PPS had no material short-term effect on stroke rehabilitation case mix and LOS for the study facilities. Facilities shifted physical and occupational therapy resources from those in the most severe case-mix groups (CMGs) to those in the moderate CMGs. Those in the more severe CMGs also experienced a noticeable decline in FIM score gain over the course of the rehabilitation stay. Using multivariate analyses, the authors discerned no major role for the IRF-PPS in explaining pre- and post-PPS differences in utilization and outcome among study facilities.
Conclusions: For the 3 study facilities, IRF-PPS did not materially reshape stroke rehabilitation case mix, utilization, and outcome in the early stages of PPS implementation, apart from the shift in therapy resources from more severely involved stroke patients to moderately involved patients. The study's findings are limited to 3 facilities, and a longer time horizon is needed to more fully determine the effects of the IRF-PPS.