The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Business

May 6, 2014

Evolving health care

Nursing homes fill void in post-hospital care

ANDERSON — Today’s nursing home is not the same facility it was more than a decade ago, said Nikki Moore.

And it is constantly evolving.

Moore, admissions director for ManorCare Health Services, 1345 N. Madison Ave., said nursing home facilities have expanded their care to help fill a void in post hospital care.

“It’s the bridge between the hospital and home,” she said.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, Medicare started to cut costs in the 1980s by changing how it paid for patient care and long inpatient hospital stays. Instead of paying for extended care and services, Medicare and insurance providers started paying a fixed amount for care that was not dependent upon the length of care required.

The change in how these services are now paid for encourages hospitals to discharge patients earlier and have spurred the growth of the post-hospital industry.

This has created a shift in nursing home services and care, Moore said. ManorCare, for example, has health care contracts with more than 250 managed care plans, she said. They will also care for patients that hospitals are unable to admit.

“Hospitals are even cutting back on their admissions,” Moore said. “They have been given a set of guidelines and if those are not met, they don’t admit them. If they [patients] start getting ill, but they are not ill enough for the hospital they can come to us to be stabilized.”

Nursing homes are seeing an increase in patients who need skilled nursing care after hospital stays, but who do not require the traditional permanent care services of the facilities, she said.

The patients, who often require 24-hour health care after suffering strokes or surgeries, no longer fit the funding requirements for extended hospital stays, but they also do not need the long-term facility care that had typically been the only type of care given by nursing homes, Moore said.

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