Policymakers hoped to substitute a new, multi-purpose, functional assessment instrument, the minimum data set post-acute care (MDS-PAC), into the planned prospective payment system (PPS) for inpatient rehabilitation hospitals. PPS design requires a large database linking treatment costs with measures of the need for care, so the PPS was designed using the functional independence measure (FIM) database linked to Medicare hospital claims. An accurate translation from the MDS-PAC items to FIM -like items was needed to ensure payment equity under the substitution. This article describes the translation efforts and some of the problems that led policymakers to abandon the effort.
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