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Insights and Trends

Top Challenges of Running Inpatient Rehabilitation: 3 Things to Know

The rehabilitation services market is expected to reach $215 billion by 2030 – a 48% jump from its 2021 valuation.1

However, the demand and complexity of inpatient rehabilitation is outpacing the ability to acquire and maintain specialized resources, expertise and capital to meet the growing need in local communities.

Discover 3 of the top challenges hospitals face when providing inpatient rehabilitation and the role strategic partnership continues to play in delivering high-quality, efficient care.

1. Shifting Regulations and Rise in Denials

The complexity of rehabilitation, combined with constant regulatory and compliance changes – such as CMS’ Review Choice Remonstration – and strict patient qualification standards, makes it challenging for hospitals to meet all admission requirements.

Denial rates today are almost double what hospitals have seen historically, resulting in losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars. With every rejection, hospitals must redirect staff hours and resources toward managing the extensive appeals process.

The right partner will have a team dedicated specifically to rehab appeals and denials, so the hospital doesn't have to pull internal resources. A partner will also provide clinical liaisons who are trained to identify rehab-appropriate patients and provide supporting documentation – cutting down on denials overall.

2. Operational Challenges

Running efficient and effective rehabilitation operations requires a team with specialized expertise – unique from a hospital’s core acute service lines. This team must stay up to date on the latest rehabilitation best practices, technology, national quality data and standards.

The team must also have the specialized expertise to develop customized treatment plans for medically complex patients based on each patient’s unique health conditions and recovery goals.

Maintaining operational discipline is a distinguishing characteristic for hospitals.2 Experienced partner support helps hospitals overcome these challenges and elevate the overall value of their offering.

3. Specialized Staffing and Training

Ongoing clinical workforce capacity strains remains a top challenge for hospitals, according to a Kaufman Hall healthcare executive survey.3

Two-thirds of survey respondents state their facilities have been operating at less than full capacity because of the ongoing staffing shortage. This is causing patients to receive less effective care, resulting in longer lengths of stay, delayed discharge and a higher likelihood of readmission.

Further, it takes expert training to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to deliver the appropriate level of rehabilitative treatment to patients with varying and complex needs.

These factors make recruiting, training and retaining top rehabilitation talent more challenging than ever before. Without the proper team in place, the needs of the community cannot be met – making partnership a critical component to achieve optimal patient and hospital outcomes.  

Contact us to learn how Lifepoint can help your hospital or unit deliver optimal outcomes no matter the current state of the healthcare landscape.

Read our full white paper, “Top Challenges of Running Inpatient Rehabilitation: 6 Things to Know” to learn more about each challenge.


  3. Kaufman Hall. (2022). State of Healthcare Performance Improvement: Mounting Pressures Pose New Challenges. PDF

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