I have frequently encountered the question, “can I switch to a different facility to continue my rehab?” I don’t know where the notion came from, but it appears that people believe that once they begin their post-hospitalization rehab under Medicare Part A, they have to stay there for the duration of therapy.
Medicare Part A pays for services rendered in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) for patients who (a) were admitted to a hospital for three or more consecutive days, (b) were admitted to the SNF within a short time (less than a month is the general rule), (c) requires daily skilled rehabilitation or skilled nursing services for a condition that was treated in the hospital (or arose while in the SNF) and (d) whose physician has certified to the above needs. http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/42/409.30 For up to 20 days, Medicare part A will pay 100% of the costs including room and board charges, and starting on day 21 for up to 100 days, Medicare will pay 80% of the cost. The 2014 daily co-pay is $152 per day, and often is covered by suitable “gap” insurance. http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/skilled-nursing-facility-care.html
Circumstances arise where the patient starts rehab in one place (such as Florida, or near where they live) and for practical reasons needs to relocate (such as up to NJ to be closer to where their child/ren live who are helping coordinate the treatment). Other times, it becomes apparent that the patient will need to remain in a long-term care facility after the skilled care comes to an end, and the initial facility feels unsuitable for the long term. Whatever the reason, it is certainly possible to change facilities mid-stream.
The process requires you to speak with the receiving facility about the nature of the treatment plan and your interest in transferring there, and you must arrange with your current facility to send your medical records over. Sending facilities utilize certain summary forms that capture the essence of your health information for conditions/diagnoses, prescriptions, and daily treatment in process. Once the “receiving facility” informs you that they can accommodate your needs, the rest is just a question of working about the transportation, and the receiving facility will then perform its own assessment and devise its ongoing rehab or skilled nursing plan.
Understandably, the earlier you arrange for a transfer, the more likely you will find a cooperative receiving facility. Since skilled care and skilled rehabilitation involve a complex program of services, the receiving facility will want to be able to manage the services for as long as possible.
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