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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  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.
  4. 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:

Additional resources to consider:

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 (

Chicago Senior Living
Assisted Living in Chicago

Newsletter -gated