Think this situation never happens? In today’s mixed up world of hospital reimbursement, you’d be surprised how often it does. Here are some tips for when it happens to you:
- You’ll likely get advice and options from the doctor and hospital discharge planner, but always try to visit the facility before deciding on a placement. There are many online resources that offer ratings, like Nursing Home Compare, which is compiled by Medicare. However, this rating system evaluates mostly paper compliance. Trust me; you’ll want to visit a facility before making a decision.
- While Medicare provides great coverage for hospital stays, it provides only temporary coverage in a nursing home/rehab facility. If you anticipate a long term stay, you need to know that after the Medicare period, you are responsible to pay privately (see point #3).
- Medicaid (Public Aid) may be an option for those with limited resources after Medicare benefits are exhausted. But beware; many of the best facilities may not accept Medicaid. Save yourself precious time by calling first to find out if the facility accepts Medicaid. This is important because nursing home/rehab care is expensive; even if you have resources available, they can be quickly exhausted on an extended stay.
- Consider the alternatives to a nursing home/rehab facility that may also meet your loved one’s needs. Assisted living or home care may both be options — or they may be needed following a brief Medicare covered stay.
Finally, peruse the list below for some online resources that can assist you in your search:
- American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging: www.aahsa.org
- Eldercare Locator: www.eldercare.gov
- Illinois Aging Services: www.illinoisagingservices.org
- Illinois Dept. on Aging: www.state.il.us/aging
- Life Services Network: www.lsni.org
- Illinois Medicaid: www.hfs.illinois.gov/medical/apply.html
- Medicare: www.medicare.gov
- Nursing Home Compare: www.medicare.gov/nursing-home-compare
- U.S. Administration on Aging: www.aoa.gov
Additional resources to consider:
- How to Talk to Your Parents About Assisted Living
- Medicare at a Glance
- Physician Search by Insurance
- The Expert Guide to Selecting a Nursing Home
This is an important and stressful decision. I hope this information helps guide you to a great fit for your circumstances.
Bill Lowe, CMSS President (firstname.lastname@example.org)