Medicare Can Potentially Increase Rehabilitation Care

Access to rehabilitation services increased 9.6% through Medicare.

Findings from a recent study suggest that being covered by Medicare was associated with an increase in rehabilitative care.

In the study, published in Annals of Surgery, researchers used regression discontinuity (RD) models to analyze how insurance changes affect rehabilitation access among older adults aged 64 or 65 years old. They gathered data from the National Trauma Data Bank from 2007 to 2012.

Researchers found that Medicare eligibility at the age of 65 instead of 64 was associated with a 6.4% decrease in the amount of uninsured individuals and a 9.6% increase in rehabilitation at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The researchers reported the increase in Medicare coverage allowed 1 in 10 patients to have access to rehabilitation services.

"As a nation, it's imperative that we continue to study the impact of ongoing healthcare reform, particularly when it comes to the effect that health insurance status has on access to rehabilitation," concluded lead study author Adil Haider, MD, MPH, FACS. "We must carefully consider how patients, especially older adults, are accessing rehab. Whether it's discharge to a skilled nursing facility, acute inpatient facility, or care provided at home, rehabilitation is a key step in the healing and recovery process and every patient deserves equitable access."