Seniors have benefited from the excellent care given at Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTACH) for decades. Recently though, many of these facilities have closed, and there might be more closures to come. Why is this and how does it affect the long-term care that seniors need when a short stay at the hospital is not enough?
Changes in Medicare
Millions of seniors have taken advantage of the government health insurance program known as Medicare. In order to continue providing benefits, Medicare has to occasionally make adjustments. Based on a recent review of trends involving LTACH's, they started rolling out a big change that can dramatically affect the reimbursements these facilities receive for typical 25-day stays. Under the proposed new payment system, some LTACH's decided they could not continue operating.
Care Offered by Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF)
LTACH's filled a great need for those needing extended hospital-level medical care for a few weeks or more. For many years, SNF's were not able to provide this type of care. Their patients were mainly those that needed rehabilitative care and other services that could be provided under the oversight of skilled nurses. However, during the past several years, many SNF's have greatly increased the level of care they offer. In other words, LTACH's have more competition than they had in the past.
There are some medical care organizations that have the potential to continue operating Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals despite the current trends. Whether or not they are able to accomplish this remains to be seen. However, one thing is sure, no matter how the face of medicine has changed, innovative care has always remained available. If you have questions about your options, be sure to speak with a social worker or call your insurance company.
As you are learning to deal with the changes that aging can bring, be patient with yourself, patient with your loved one, seek advice and answers to questions, and remember you are not in this alone. Contact a Caring Senior Service team member today!