Amal TrivediA new study – the first on the topic in a long while – finds that when Medicare Advantage plans have waived a rule requiring a minimum of three days in the hospital before skilled nursing care can be covered, the effect was less time in the hospital, which can save money and reduce potential hospital complications for patients. Potentially negative implications were not in evidence.
"This policy dates back to the mid-1960's, when the average length of a hospital stay was two weeks," said Dr. Amal Trivedi, associate professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown University and corresponding author of the study in the August issue of Health Affairs. "Requiring patients to stay in the hospital for three days before they can be transferred to a skilled nursing facility may unnecessarily lengthen hospital stays, leading to more spending, but also subject patients to unnecessary complications arising from hospital care."
(Distributed August 4, 2015)