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⭒ CANHR Advocate Did You Know Articles

The Myth of “Short-Term Stay” Beds

Most nursing home residents are admitted from hospitals and typically have up to 100 days of their nursing home stay covered by Medicare, which pays a generous rate compared with other payment sources. Over the years, the disparity between payment rates through Medicare and all other sources has led to nursing homes doing all they can to maximize the number of residents whose stays are paid for by Medicare – even if it means lying to and endangering residents by discharging them when they still need care.

An increasing number of nursing homes have taken to spreading the myth that some beds in the building are “short-term stay” only, meaning for residents whose stays are currently being paid for by Medicare. So when residents have exhausted their Medicare coverage, they have to move out of the nursing home because invariably the “long-term stay” beds (those occupied by residents with lower paying funding sources) are full. The myth of designating beds as “short-term” versus “long-term” is used to drive out residents who qualify for nursing home services but no longer have high-paying Medicare coverage.

In reality, all nursing homes are licensed to provide long-term care for every bed in the facility. As long as a resident needs nursing home services and those services are paid for, she has every right to remain in the facility regardless of payment source.

If you or a family member are in a nursing home and the staff members are attempting a discharge because there are no “long-term” beds available, don’t go! Tell them that no discharge can be performed without following all of the notice and other legal requirements and that changing payment source is not a sufficient legal reason. The only way the “short-term” versus “long-term” bed myth will die is if we kill it.