Aging Well

Aging Well

ASK AGING WELL: Picking a Rehab in the time of Coronavirus

Posted July 28, 2020 11:21 a.m. EDT

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Dear Aging Well:
Dad broke his hip and his social worker at the hospital gave us a list of 25 places for him to go for rehab. They've given me 24 hours to pick our top three. They can't make any recommendations. How do I choose?

Prior to COVID-19, families could take these lists and run around to visit the most highly rated and geographically convenient ones. With COVID, visits and tours are no longer possible. However, there are some ways to gather information that can help you narrow the options.

  1. Medicare.gov enables you to view options within 25 miles of whatever zip code you enter. After you have perused the list that comes up, you can then select up to three options to compare side-to-side. This allows you to see how your top options compare in terms of ratings, health inspections, staffing time, penalties, etc. to each other. It is important to know that these results also include Rehabs that exist inside Continuing Care Retirement Communities that may or may not be open to non-members.
  2. Keep in mind that some rehabs specialize in more intensive and specific rehab, which your loved one may or may not qualify for.
  3. Once you have narrowed your list, if you would like to see if there are cases of COVID in the ones y9ou have selected, you can go to the NC Department of Health and Human Services Dashboard, which updates cases every Tuesday and Friday at 4 pm.

It is important to ask whether Medicare will cover the rehab. One must be admitted to the hospital for three overnights, as well as need specific care and/or rehab after the hospitalization to qualify. Medicare will pay for the first 20 days of rehab at 100% and for the next 80 days at 80%, provided the patient meets specific qualifications. If your loved one no longer qualifies, then the facility must provide a written notice 24 hours before discharge. If the family has no plan in place after discharge, then they will be required to private pay for care. In the wider Triangle area, the daily rate for Skilled Nursing and/or Rehab ranges in cost from $167/day up to $400, depending on the facility, whether its a private or shared room, as well as other characteristics. And not all facilities take Medicare. To see the current rates that Medicare reimburses Skilled Nursing/Rehabs across the state (as updated on 4/1/2020), visit NC Medicaid Reimbursement Rates.

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