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Survey Says: Most Therapy Providers Expect RCS-1 Will Be Delayed

Posted on April 13, 2018 by & filed under Blog Posts, Clinical/Regulatory

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Survey Says: Most Therapy Providers Expect RCS-1 Will Be Delayed

Is RCS-1 keeping you up at night? It’s a question we explored in a recent survey, and therapy providers responded with mixed results. Almost half (48%) said they haven’t started preparing for RCS-1 and are waiting to hear from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) before doing so. If CMS goes forward with an October 2018 implementation date, this timeline could present challenges given what we know today about the proposed Medicare payment rule for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

RCS-1, as it’s currently written, would feature dramatic changes to everything from the determination of clinical categories and functional levels to how therapy services are incentivized. The projected impact of RCS-1 is not insignificant. Therapy businesses built around serving SNFs could see their revenues reduced by as much as 20-40%.

Whether or not there will be a delay and other questions about RCS-1 will likely be answered shortly when CMS releases the SNF proposed rule in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at what therapy providers are thinking. To gather these results, we polled 182 therapy professionals, including therapists, rehab managers, regional managers and more. Almost 30% of the respondents hold director-level titles and above, including director of rehab/therapy services, director of reimbursement, owner, CEO, CFO and COO.

The following includes key findings:

A delay in the proposed rule is expected. It will likely be welcomed by almost half of the respondents who haven’t started preparing.

Most of the survey respondents (78%) believe RCS-1 will be delayed. If they’re right, it will be good news for almost half (48%) who say they’ve been waiting to hear from CMS about the ruling before starting to prepare. 52% have taken a more proactive approach, and say they’re already preparing their businesses for the expected changes.

Therapy providers express concern and uncertainty about their ability to grow and thrive under RCS-1.

A delay in the ruling would buy much-needed time for therapy providers to develop strategies for success. One third (33%) of respondents say they’re worried about their ability to thrive under RCS-1, and 41% say they aren’t sure how to evaluate whether their business would thrive or not under RCS-1. Only a minority (26%) feel they are well prepared to succeed under the new payment rule.

The majority of respondents believe that business diversification is important to growth and success under RCS-1.  

Almost everyone (94%) agrees that diversifying their businesses would enable them to grow and thrive under RCS-1. However, 52% of respondents are still waiting to hear from CMS about RCS-1 before making any plans to expand into other post-acute care settings, such as outpatient clinics and home health. The rest are either looking into expansion (22%) or already have expansion efforts under way (26%).

Whether or not RCS-1 is delayed, therapy providers need to stay on top of developments and understand how reimbursement will impact their business and strategies they can use to ensure success.

For more information on how to prepare for RCS-1, visit our RCS-1 Resource Center or request a demo to learn how Optima’s business intelligence (BI) and data analysis tools can help therapy providers predict their future needs and manage costs under RCS-1.