Hospitals excel at providing acute care, but some patients are not ready to go directly home from the hospital and need to be transitioned to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) for specialized care and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, some post-acute patients — especially Medicaid patients — are essentially “stuck” in hospitals when a bed cannot be found for them at a SNF. This stalls their recovery, and keeping them unnecessarily hospitalized uses a valuable community resource in hospitals that are already operating near or at capacity.
This week in Olympia, WSHA testified on HB 1854, which would require the Medicaid managed care plans to assemble an adequate and appropriate network of covered SNFs, monitored and enforced by the Washington State Health Care Authority. It would also create an incentive to place patients at a SNF by creating new fees on the plan if it has not placed the patient in a reasonable amount of time.