Baseline Characteristics and Outcomes for People With and Without COVID-19 Diagnoses Receiving Inpatient Rehabilitation Care Across the US in 2020-2021

Elissa J. Charbonneau, Prateek Grover, Jeffery S. Johns, Susan M. McDowell, Joseph V. Stillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess sociodemographic, medical complexity, and outcomes of persons receiving care at inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) with and without a diagnosis of COVID-19. Design: A retrospective cohort study using electronic medical record (EMR) data from 138 IRFs across 34 states and Puerto Rico. Setting: N/A. Participants: IRF EMR data for 212,663 patients discharged between 04/01/2020 and 05/31/2021 (N=212,663), of which 16,199 (COVID-19 group) had a primary or secondary COVID-19 diagnosis based upon ICD codes set (ICD-10 codes U07.1, B94.8, Z86.19, Z86.16). Main Outcome Measures: Four categories: (a) sociodemographic, (b) medical complexity, (c) process, that is, standard IRF processes, and clinical outcomes (collected routinely as part of administrative reporting), and (d) functional outcomes. Patients with missing functional data associated with short/incomplete stays (n=623) were excluded from analysis of functional outcomes category only. Standard descriptive analysis techniques were employed for comparing categorical and continuous variables between groups. Results: Statistically significant differences were noted between the COVID-19 group and non-COVID groups for race (26.0% vs 19.7% non-minority, P<.001), Case Mix Index (1.49 vs 1.46, P<.001), Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services 60% rule qualification (79.0% vs 73.4%, P<.001), time to onset (24.3 vs 18.0 days, P<.001), length of stay (14.2 vs 12.9 days, P<.001), and discharge disposition (to community: 75.3% vs 81%, P<.001; to acute care facility: 15.6% vs 10.8%, P<.001). The COVID-19 group had higher frequency of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, encephalopathy, morbid obesity, and critical illness neuropathy and myopathy. Clinically insignificant differences were noted for age, sex, depression, and cognitive assessment. Ability to participate and functional outcomes were comparable between the groups. Conclusion: There are significant differences between the COVID-19 and non-COVID group in some sociodemographic, medical complexity, process and clinical outcomes, but not in functional outcomes. The ability to participate in the IRF-required intensity of therapy services along with attainment of comparable levels of functional outcomes supports the benefit of IRFs for persons with COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100281
JournalArchives of Rehabilitation Research and Clinical Translation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this