Disabled patients to benefit from Medicare change

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Lawyers for Medicare patients say the Obama administration has agreed to a change that would help people with severe chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s keep receiving rehabilitation services — even if they’re not getting better.

The proposed agreement filed with a federal judge in Vermont would allow Medicare patients to keep receiving physical and occupational therapy and other services at home or in a nursing home so that they can remain stable, said Gill Deford, a lawyer with the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

That’s been a problem for thousands of patients because of a longstanding Medicare policy that says they must show improvement to keep getting rehab. Deford’s group and other organizations challenged it in a nationwide class action suit.

Administration officials would not comment because the settlement is still pending.

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