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Q: How do I qualify for Medicare skilled care benefits?

Posted November 13, 2013 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: You have a qualifying hospital stay. This means an inpatient hospital stay of three consecutive days or more, starting with the day the hospital admits you as an inpatient. The inpatient status is important, as days in the hospital under observation status are not qualifying. You must have three consecutive days with an inpatient status, so talk to your nurse or social worker about your options, and remember that you always have a choice as to where you go for skilled care.

In order to qualify for skilled care benefits, you must enter the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) within 30 days of leaving the hospital. You do have the option of returning home, and if you don’t feel that you aren’t ready, you can check into a skilled nursing facility.

You also have the option of switching facilities if you are placed into a facility, and wish to switch to skilled care under another. Many long-term centers provide skilled care. In the last decade, nursing homes have changed the care that they provide, as they are no longer known as the place that you go when you get old and remain there for long-term care.  Regency Park specializes in skilled care, providing all of the therapies that you need in a home-like environment with the goal of getting you healthy and back into your own home.

If you have any questions about skilled care, contact your local facilities for further assistance.

Information provided by Toni Linberg, director of marketing, Regency Park Nursing and Rehab, 100 Ram Drive, Jefferson, (515) 386-4107.

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