February 28, 2019

Cassidy, Durbin Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Support Leading Rehab Centers

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today introduced the Preserving Rehabilitation Innovation Centers Act, bipartisan legislation to support rehabilitation facilities that lead the nation in medical research. The bill recognizes the unique role that a leading class of rehabilitation facilities play in our health care system by driving innovative research for the entire field, providing medical training to students, and serving the highest need patients across the country.

“Brain injuries, nerve damage, complicated amputations—this bill is about giving hope to people grappling with these and other complex conditions,” said Dr. Cassidy. “By supporting the doctors and researchers providing the best evidence-based treatments, we can help more patients win their battle to return to wholeness.” 

“Rehabilitation facilities like the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago continue to lead the nation by bringing doctors and top researchers together to provide the highest quality care for patients with complex conditions. This bill will help recognize and support the most innovative institutions across the nation so they can continue to advance medical research, treat complex patients, and educate the next generation of researchers and medical professionals,” said Durbin.

A companion version of the Preserving Rehabilitation Innovation Centers Act will soon be introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9) and Pete Olson (R-TX-22).

In the United States, there are more than 1,100 Medicare-certified inpatient rehabilitation facilities.  Among these facilities are a small group of rehabilitation institutions that drive the future of rehabilitation care and medicine, as well as patient recovery. This unique category of inpatient rehabilitation institutions conduct innovative research to advance the field of rehabilitation care, and treat the most complex conditions, such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, childhood disease, burns, and wartime injuries. All of them are also not-for-profit or government-owned and serve a high volume of Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries.

Specifically, the Preserving Rehabilitation Innovation Centers Act:

  • Defines “Rehabilitation Innovation Center” as a rehabilitation facility that provides care for patients with highly complex conditions, conducts multidisciplinary rehabilitation research, and sees a high number of Medicare beneficiaries.

Calls on the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Committee to conduct a study on the adequacy of current payment rates for Rehabilitation Innovation Centers.  As our federal health care system moves away from the fee-for-service payment model toward more value-based care, the study directed by this legislation will inform how Rehabilitation Innovation Centers should be reimbursed.