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Q: What is skilled nursing care, and who will pay for it?

Posted October 02, 2013 in Adel, Advice Column

A: A growing number of patients recovering from surgery or a major illness are referred by their doctors to skilled nursing facilities or SNF. These facilities provide an important, less expensive alternative to hospitalization.

Skilled nursing facility care, which takes place in a nursing facility or in a hospital’s extended care wing, provides high levels of medical and nursing care, 24 hour monitoring and intensive rehabilitation.

Medicare Part A may cover some of the costs of staying in a skilled nursing facility (SNF), but strictly limits how much it will pay. You must meet two requirements before Medicare will pay for any SNF stay. Your stay in a SNF must be within 30 days of discharge from the hospital following at least three consecutive days in the hospital. You must have been actually “admitted” to the hospital, not just held “under observation.”

Medicare also requires a doctor’s certification that you require skilled nursing care or skilled rehabilitative services.

For each spell of illness, Medicare will cover only a total of up to 100 days of inpatient care in a SNF, and the doctor must continue to prescribe the skilled level of care. Each patient’s stay length will be different depending upon Medicare guidelines and may not last the full 100 days.

If you have questions regarding Medicare Part A coverage in Skilled Nursing Facilities please feel free to contact Pam Walker, administrator at Adel Acres or check out Medicare online at

Information provided by Pam Walker, Adel Acres, 1919 Greene St., Adel.

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