Reduced Hospital Admissions and Increased Observations Stays May Be Contributing to Declining Use of Skilled Nursing Services

April 6, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​According to one company's findings, skilled nursing facility (SNF) utilization by Medicare beneficiaries has declined 15% since 2009, which mirrors a similar decline (17%) in per capita hospital discharges and an increase in "observation stays." The company, Avalere, suggests that a driving force behind this shift may be payment models that penalize hospital readmissions and short hospital inpatient stays in favor of observation stays, resulting in fewer discharges to SNFs. A patient must receive at least three days of inpatient hospital care before qualifying for an SNF stay under Medicare requirements.

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