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A skilled nursing facility is similar to a nursing home but typically used for a shorter period of time. In this article, we’ll define the term “skilled nursing facility” and explain how it relates to nursing home abuse.

Key Takeaways

  • A skilled nursing facility is an in-patient medical treatment and rehabilitation center staffed by trained medical professionals
  • Skilled nursing facilities are typically temporary residences, whereas nursing homes are usually used as a permanent residence
  • Medicare Part A covers stays in a skilled nursing facility for a limited time period and under certain conditions
  • Patients in skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes alike are cautioned to be aware of the risk of abuse by caretakers

What Is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

A skilled nursing facility is an in-patient medical treatment and rehabilitation center staffed by trained medical professionals such as licensed nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and audiologists. They offer round-the-clock assistance with healthcare and activities of daily living.

Skilled Nursing Facility vs. Nursing Home

Skilled nursing facilities are typically temporary residences for patients who medically require rehabilitation treatment. In contrast, nursing homes are more often used as a permanent residence for people such as the elderly and the disabled who are in need of 24/7 custodial care.

Skilled Nursing Facilities and Medicare

Medicare Part A covers care in a skilled nursing facility only for a limited time and only under these conditions:

  • The patient is covered by Medicare Part A
  • The patient has days left in their benefit period to use
  • The patient has a qualifying 3-day inpatient hospital stay
  • The patient’s doctor has decided that they need daily skilled care 
  • The  patient goes to a Medicare-certified skilled nursing facility

Additionally, the patient must need the skilled services for a medical condition that is either:

  • A hospital-related medical condition treated during their qualifying 3-day inpatient hospital stay, even if it wasn’t the reason they were admitted to the hospital
  • A condition that started while they were getting care in the skilled nursing facility for a hospital-related medical condition 

For this benefit period, the patient must pay:

  • Days 1 to 20: $0 per day
  • Days 21 to 100: Up to $194.50 coinsurance per day, which will go up to $200 in 2023
  • Days 101 and beyond: All costs

Medicare does not cover a long-term stay in a skilled nursing facility or nursing home. Patients needing to stay in such a facility for longer than 100 days may need to seek additional coverage to help with payment, such as with Medicaid.

Skilled Nursing Facilities and Nursing Home Abuse

Whether a patient is staying for a short-term stay in a skilled nursing facility or has moved to become a permanent resident in a nursing home, it is important to be aware of the risk of nursing home abuse. This is defined as intentional or unintentional harm to a nursing home resident by a caretaker and is tragically not an uncommon occurrence. 

Nursing home residents and their loved ones are recommended to familiarize themselves with the warning signs of nursing home abuse. If you or somebody you care about has been a victim of nursing home abuse, please notify the relevant authorities immediately. Additionally, you have the option of seeking legal recourse in the form of compensation for your pain and suffering. Reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer for a free consultation.

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