Skilled Nursing Facilities – Proper Care and Discharge Planning

At Regency Park Nursing and Rehab Centers, our dedicated teams of social workers are acutely aware of our responsibility with respect to proper care planning and discharge planning.

In fact, a great emphasis is placed on contacting families immediately upon admission, to invite them to the facility for a comprehensive care plan meeting. At the meeting, which is attended by our therapists, nurses and social workers, there is a discussion of goals and objectives for each individual patient and we collaborate with the family to devise an efficient care plan to result in a safe discharge.

I am extremely invested in this crucial dynamic and indeed so is the Office of The Inspector General.

In fact, in a scathing report just released last month, they document that “skilled nursing facilities often fail to meet care planning and discharge planning requirements.”

Spotlight on Nursing Facilities

Spotlight on Nursing Facilities

They (not so tactfully) invoke the $5.1 billion dollars that Medicare paid for subpar care, poor care plans and even poorer discharge planning.

Here is what they wrote in part:

HOW WE DID THIS STUDY

We based this study on a medical record review of a stratified simple random sample of SNF stays from 2009. The reviewers determined the extent to which SNFs developed care plans that met Medicare requirements, provided services in accordance with care plans, and planned for beneficiaries’ discharges as required. Reviewers also identified examples of poor quality care.

 

WHAT WE FOUND

For 37 percent of stays, SNFs did not develop care plans that met requirements or did not provide services in accordance with care plans. For 31 percent of stays, SNFs did not meet discharge planning requirements. Medicare paid approximately $5.1 billion for stays in which SNFs did not meet these quality-of-care requirements. Additionally, reviewers found examples of poor quality care related to wound care, medication management, and therapy. These findings raise concerns about what Medicare is paying for. They also demonstrate that SNF oversight needs to be strengthened to ensure that SNFs perform appropriate care planning and discharge planning.

WHAT WE RECOMMEND

We recommend that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): (1) strengthen the regulations on care planning and discharge planning, (2) provide guidance to SNFs to improve care planning and discharge planning, (3) increase surveyor efforts to identify SNFs that do not meet care planning and discharge planning requirements and to hold these SNFs accountable, (4) link payments to meeting quality-of-care requirements, and (5) follow up on the SNFs that failed to meet care planning and discharge planning requirements or that provided poor quality care. CMS concurred with all five of our recommendations.

Read the entire report, here.

About Judah Gutwein, L.N.H.A.

As a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, with additional years of experience as an Admissions and Marketing Director, I am intimately familiar with the challenges of building and maintaining a vibrant census in nursing and rehab facilities. Regency Nursing Centers has a well deserved reputation for excellence in healthcare and I'm extremely proud of our achievements! Thanks for reading our Regency Blog!
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