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NATIONAL GROUP ORGANIZES CONSORTIUM TO MEASURE FUNCTION OUTCOMES IN OUTPATIENT REHABILITATION SETTINGS

 KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Five leading outpatient physical therapy companies today announced the formation of F.O.T.O. (Focus On Therapeutic Outcomes). The consortium was created to develop a standard process to measure functional outcomes in outpatient physical and occupational therapy settings. The companies in the consortium treat more than 300,000 patients per year.
 "This is an industry milestone. For the first time, outpatient physical and occupational therapy providers will combine their patient care data to create an information-management system," said Ben E. Johnston, P.T., vice president of Professional Services at RehabClinics, one of the founding companies. "The measurement system will make participants highly competitive in the healthcare reform environment. Companies that can monitor patient care information will be in the best position to contain costs."
 Other founding members include: Caremark International, Inc. (NYSE: CK), Continental Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE: CNM) and all its subsidiaries, Health Focus, Inc., a subsidiary of National Rehab Centers (NASDAQ: NRCI), HealthSouth Rehabilitation Corporation (NYSE: IIRC), Med Rehab Inc., RehabClinics, Inc. (NASDAQ: RCII).
 F.O.T.O.'s objectives include creating an industry standard for the following: measuring functional outcomes that result from the therapeutic intervention in the outpatient setting; measuring the efficacy of therapy services; establishing the largest standardized database of patient care information; providing participatory access by any outpatient therapy provider organizations; guiding research and interfacing with other healthcare providers and rehabilitation industry payor organizations to insure appropriateness of services.
 At the present time, therapists have not adopted a standard measurement to evaluate function outcomes in the outpatient rehabilitation clinic. Mr. Johnson stated, "This effort will rectify the lack of uniform measurements, which will assist therapists in providing better care to patients and will provide a frame of reference for payors."
 F.O.T.O. has chosen a standard set of statistically validated measurement tools for selected disabilities and the consortium has selected a standard data collection process. New England Research Institute (NERI), an independent recognized outcomes research organization, will design the process, develop the training tools, and manage the database. NERI will provide confidential reports to member organizations comparing their functional outcomes to those of the blinded collective database. NERI will also be commissioned to conduct research that will lead to improved quality of the measurement tools and patient care.
 Data collection will begin for the trial group in June 1993, with initial outcome reports available to the trial organizations in September 1993. It is expected that the database will be opened to all qualified provider organizations for training and data collection commencing early next year.
 -0- 4/27/93
 /CONTACT: Ben E. Johnston, vice president of Professional Services of RehabClinics, Inc., 215-992-7600, or 615-690-3006, or fax, 215-992-3393/
 (RCII)


CO: RehabClinics, Inc.; Caremark International, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:

TS-OS -- NY073 -- 1374 04/27/93 12:23 EDT
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Date:Apr 27, 1993
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