This is a special two-part Grand Rounds series with Dr. Steven Flanagan, Professor and Chairman of Rehabilitation Medicine and Medical Director of Rusk Rehabilitation.
In Part 1 of his presentation, Dr. Flanagan discusses the contributions of Dr. Howard Rusk, the father of rehabilitation medicine. He brought it to the forefront as a recognized specialty by showing that rehabilitation contributed to improving the lives of patients with disabilities. Dr. Flanagan referred to various efforts over the decades to manage health care costs through managed care and other means. Even today when it is evident that a inpatient care is necessary, barriers can offer resistance because of the costs involved. What makes the case of inpatient care more challenging is the need to have more data to justify the decision to provide care at that level. He predicts that cost containment will continue well into the future. Our aims are to improve health care outcomes and increase efficiency. He concluded Part 1 of his presentation by stating that PM&R has a critical role to play in attaining the Triple Aim.
In Part 2 of his presentation, Dr. Flanagan discusses challenges involved in justifying the need for the provision of inpatient rehabilitation care in the context of controlling expenditures and the critical role that physical medicine and rehabilitation play in attaining the Triple Aim. We know that the intensity of some of our rehabilitation therapies are associated with better outcomes, for example, aphasia therapy. Early mobilization results in better outcomes with cost savings. Nonetheless, we still need more data to show that what we do is important. Mention was made of expansions at Rusk, such as a new division on Technology and Innovation to advance rehabilitation science. Health care is changing and education must change with it.