Challenging fall awaits complex rehab providers

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Friday, July 17, 2020

YARMOUTH, Maine – Complex rehab providers could see a downturn in revenues in late summer, early fall, says Don Clayback.

“The next three months are going to be challenging,” said Clayback, executive director of NCART, during a recent webcast on CRT and COVID-19 sponsored by NCART, NRRTS, The Clinician Task Force and U.S. Rehab. “As we all know, the evaluations that are being done this month are the deliveries and revenues (we’ll have) three months from now, and the three months we’ve just gone through have been difficult for evaluations and new activity. The consequences of that are going to be felt two or three months from now. Companies are seeing what they can do to put their companies in the best position.”

In addition to the difficulties in maintaining service to patients and, therefore, their revenues, providers are faced with increased costs from having to conduct business differently, whether it’s using telehealth or ramping up their protection of employees in the field.

Those increased costs and potential decreased reimbursement from payers, particularly Medicaid, are setting up providers for difficulties.

“Both are going in the wrong direction,” Clayback said.

That’s why stakeholders like NCART are asking policy makers to help providers where they can by, for example, making permanent a delay in applying competitive bidding pricing to accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs.

“So there would be some stability, as we address the business issues that lie ahead,” Clayback said.  

Stakeholders are also talking to policy makers about permanently allowing occupational and physical therapists to use telehealth and increasing federal support to state Medicaid programs.

“We’re in big support of that,” Clayback said. “States have been under stress.”