We've heard from many prospects and industry experts about skilled nursing facilities increasingly seeking shorter stay, high-therapy Medicare patients (see step one in this Long-Term Living Magazine article we previously linked to). One client has told us they are successfully (and dramatically) increasing the number of Medicare or Medicare HMO admissions, while seeing the average length of stay for those patients dip to the sub-20-day range. (How, you might ask? By using our Web-based Referral Management System to automate and accelerate admissions and referral management, and report and understand key referral source and payer trends. End commercial.)
However, we recently heard from another client that bucks this emerging trend toward higher acuity Medicare patients. In reviewing length of stay data, this multi-location SNF COO was encouraged by seeing consistently longer average stays for Medicare, within the 100-day window. Why? He said, with their case mix, his SNFs were being reimbursed at higher rates under the new rules. They realize greater returns, with less cost and effort in new patient acquisition, by managing a longer-term Medicare case mix.
So, I'm curious to hear: What's the average Medicare length of stay at your nursing homes/SNFs today, and what would you like it to be? What are the strategies and trends at your SNFs to best manage quality census and Medicare reimbursements? Have they changed? Are you expanding your rehab and therapy services at your skilled nursing facilities, and does demand for those services continue to grow?