Overview of the Economics of Rehabilitation in the United States
Diane V. Bistany
This is an overview of private-sector economics of rehabilitation in the United States with emphasis on treatment for persons with head injury and brain damage. Areas to be elaborated on include the (a) limited understanding of rehabilitation, (b) incidence of disability, (c) role of private insurance, and (d) economic consequences. Inforined individuals recognize the long-term benefits of rehabilitation and realize the need to control escalating costs. With good rehabilitation, there also exists opportunity for abuse, which requires intervention to reduce and eliminate it. There is a growing awareness among providers, payers, and private citizens to work toward improved services for all disabled in a cost-effective manner.
As we move through the 1990s toward the 21st century, we are embarking on an economic revolution, particularly in health care. However, rehabilitation, which is an aspect of this health-care reform, is often forgotten and remains a "stepchild" of the medical profession.
Although medicine has been a vital part of history for many thousands of years, rehabilitation medicine is barely 50 years old. Specialization in head-injury rehabilitation is even younger, resulting in limited understanding and skepticism for many. The rapid growth of modern research and technology has positively influenced those who survive catastrophic injuries and illnesses. Life expectancy is prolonged and very close to the norm for many. This benefit to humankind also brings