How Could Lawyers Help to Improve Transitions of Care between SNFs and Hospitals?

March 24, 2017 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Incorporating legal advice and guidance into the transfer-of-care process could mean benefits for both residents and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), according to an article published in the March 2017 issue of JAMDA, the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. Lawyers could provide legal advocacy and advice, the authors write, which could also improve essential continuity-of-care components of resident outcomes, such as the quality and timeliness of the discharge planning process. Transfers between hospitals and SNFs are associated with many clinical, financial, and legal challenges, and nearly one-fifth of Medicare beneficiaries are readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge. For example, the authors write, "hospital admission practices drive eventual discharge decisions . . .  limiting post-acute care options for many older adults"; hospitals are incentivized to be cautious in admitting Medicare beneficiaries in order to avoid readmission penalties under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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