In this time of increasing uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association (AMRPA) spoke with its members this week to get a closer look at how inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) are adapting their internal operations to continue providing optimal care while ensuring the health and safety of staff and patients.
AMRPA talked with Doug Baer, CEO of Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in Florida, and Dr. Bruce Gans, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey, part of the Select Medical family of rehabilitation hospitals, to provide a comprehensive understanding of the efforts being taken by IRFs.
“Our teams at Brooks Rehabilitation are working tirelessly to provide care for our patients while keeping our employees and patients safe,” said Baer. “We have restricted all visitors with very limited exceptions and are screening all people entering our facility on a daily basis.
Keeping families together, at least virtually, is a priority for Brooks Rehab, and “to connect family members and friends with patients, virtual visits have been implemented,” said Baer. “Several actions have also been taken to assist employees, including more flexibility with paid leave, an emergency fund, assistance with childcare options and pay continuation for a period of time.”
Dr. Gans said, “Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation has been working for the last several weeks on plans, policies and procedures to deal with the pandemic crisis. Working closely with our Critical Illness Recovery Hospital Division and our Outpatient Therapy Division, we have been meeting multiple times daily by phone, monitoring guidance from CDC and updating policies on a daily basis as needed to keep our patients and our providers safe.”
“We have updated disaster privilege plans, disaster staffing plans, infection control protocols, human resource policies, procurement activities and the like, to keep our supply chains open, hospitals adequately staffed and beds open to care for the patients who need us. We have also been planning to be capable of accepting acutely ill patients who do not need rehab, just ongoing medical care, to help free up acute care hospital beds,” Gans continued, explaining Kessler’s approach to a potential future need for IRF assistance on the front lines of the pandemic.
AMRPA is supporting its members and the IRF community at large with regular updates and communications about its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his most recent column in AMRPA Magazine, Dr. Robert Krug, chair of the AMRPA Board and President and CEO of Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, part of Trinity Health of New England, said, “First, and most importantly, AMRPA is fully committed to the safety and well-being of our members and their patients. I believe that industry-wide education and communication is absolutely critical at this juncture, and to that end, we have and will continue to convene informational calls so that we can learn and share best practices with respect to COVID-19 response.”
“We are updating our members on a daily basis with up-to-date information on new CMS guidelines, legislative relief efforts and waiver-related information,” said Kate Beller, JD, AMRPA Executive Vice President for Policy Development and Government Relations. “We are fielding questions from our members every day and engaging with policymakers to ensure they are aware of the new and emerging issues facing our members. Our association is fully committed to supporting the field in this unprecedented time.”
For more AMRPA and industry-wide COVID-19 updates, the organization has created and maintains this page on its website.