The Short on Rehab

What is Post-Acute Rehabilitation? It is an inpatient center that provides therapies and/or Skilled Nursing.

Adults go there to recover from illness, injury, surgery, or other medical conditions following treatment in an Acute Care Hospital. Post-Acute Rehabilitation is a term used interchangeably with Short Term Rehab, Transitional Care Unit and Skilled Nursing Rehab Facility (SNF). These facilities offer many similar services, such as: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Skilled Nursing Services. All centers have a Physician directing care and all must follow the same rules and regulations governed by Medicare. Not all Post-Acute Centers accept Medicaid and/or private insurance.

An individual’s Medicare benefits begin after a qualifying Acute Hospital stay if skilled services (Therapy and/or Nursing) are needed in order to regain physical health to go home safely. The first 20 days of Post-Acute Rehab is paid for by Medicare without a co-payment. Starting on day 21 there is a co-payment, and, depending on the individual’s circumstance, the co-payment is that person’s responsibility whether it be paid by the individual themselves, by a secondary insurance, or by Medicaid. It is important to remember that not all Post-Acute Rehabilitations Centers are licensed to take Medicaid. Keeping this in mind, one would want to consider whether aftercare will require only a few days or, in some cases, a month or more in Rehab. (In extreme circumstances, Medicare stays can be as long as 100 days if the individual continues to qualify for skilled services.)

Questions to ask:

  • Tour the facilities and take a family member and/or trusted friend with you. Look at the room, dining area, community rooms, and Therapy Facilities.
  • What insurances does the facility accept, and will the facility bill your private insurance?
  • Does the facility accept Medicaid? Very important if you may need extended Rehab.
  • Does the facility offer Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy? Do they have specialized equipment or services?
  • Ask about dining services and whether the facility is able to meet your individualized preferences. Ask to view a menu and you may even want to arrange to eat a meal.
  • What is the facilities Medicare quality (CMS) star rating?
  • Can the facility provide 1st medication dosing on site?
  • Do they bill secondary insurance?
  • What does the facility do to provide an individual plan of care that meets your discharge goals?

Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Melisa Latham, RN, NHA. Melissa is the Administrator at Larchwood Inns and the PARC and may be reached at 970-245-0022 or by email at MelissaL@LarchwoodInn.com.