Renewed hope for carve out

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WASHINGTON--If passed, an economic stimulus package designed to jump-start the lagging economy could also be a boon to the complex rehab industry, some stakeholders say.

The package, which would likely include additional funding for Medicaid programs, could be a potential vehicle for carving out complex rehab from the 9.5% nationwide reimbursement cut.

The cut will negatively impact patient care, industry stakeholders say. Providers are expected to reduce product offerings and limit services such as off-site assessments.

Exempting complex rehab products from the cut would not require a lot of belt tightening on the government’s part, said Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products.

“It would be less than $50 million over a five-year period,” he said. “That’s typically the threshold that Congress looks at for offsetting with some kind of reduction.”

Still, some sources think it’s too early to start drafting carve-out language to include in a stimulus package.

“Everything is up in the air at this point,” said Sharon Hildebrandt, executive director of NCART. “No one knows what the Obama administration is going to want or how big the package is going to be.”