A close up shot of COVID-10 face masks for post-acute care

How Post-Acute Care Has Adjusted to the COVID-19 Crisis

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been some notable adjustments in the healthcare industry that have impacted post-acute providers. Significant changes have been made to standardize conditions of payment and participation for post-acute providers to ease the burdens they face and increase access to patient care during the public health emergency.

3-Day Rule Waiver

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has waived the requirement for a 3-day inpatient hospital stay before SNF admission. CMS positioned its decision to waive the 3-day hospital stay requirement for patients whose doctors participate in the NGACO Model as a way to ease the burden on hospitals – specifically allowing them to take non-COVID patients. 

Previously, there has been much advocacy for the 3-day waiver rule, but in a pandemic situation, things have happened more quickly. With the right testing and protocols in place, this can make for a reasonable strategy.

An eligible patient can utilize the SNF 3-day rule, if, they do not reside in a nursing home or SNF long-term care at the time of admission to the SNF and meet all other CMS criteria including:

  • Being medically stable
  • Having confirmed diagnoses
  • Not requiring an inpatient hospital evaluation or treatment
  • Having an identified skilled nursing or rehabilitation need that cannot be provided
  • On an outpatient basis or through home health services

Expanding Telehealth Coverage

Many changes that have been seen in post-acute care, and all over the healthcare industry, have been incorporating telehealth coverage. Enforced to help protect patients and frontline workers, telehealth can allow for greater flexibility in location when managing patient care. Telehealth has made an important move upward during the pandemic as a solution to limit the spread of the disease. 

Utilizing telehealth has supported the social distancing requirements implemented by the CDC. Typically, regulations require telehealth services to be performed in a qualifying site for fees to be charged. However, Medicare’s originating site requirement has been lifted through the Telehealth Services During Certain Emergency Periods Act of 2020 (TSDCEPA) providing authority to Health and Human Services (HHS) to waive existing limitations. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) that passed in March 2020 contains many measures to increase the use of telehealth through enhanced funding.

Pivotal Daily Operations in Post-Acute Care

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, changes in daily operations continue to adjust. Skilled nursing facilities have ramped up sanitation and hygienic procedures increased the amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by staff and placed visiting limitations on family and friends. All this has helped to reduce the risk of spread but increased budgetary constraints. Post-acute care providers must quickly address any unbudgeted costs and policy changes to minimize challenges in operations arising from the crisis.

Pandemic Adjustments at South Coast Post Acute 

Individuals who come to South Coast Post Acute for post-acute and skilled nursing services in Santa Ana, CA receive highly-skilled care for recovery after a hospital stay. Awarded one of the 2020 Newsweek’s Best Nursing Homes in California, South Coast Post Acute continues to maintain a properly hygienic facility to best care for our community.

In a time where health concerns are at an all-time high, our knowledge of medicine and tools can make a difference. We believe that prevention and care can go a long way in keeping patients protected. Contact us today to begin your journey to recovery.

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