Medicare waiver will let hospital transfer patients without 3-day wait

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH) and three area skilled nursing facilities, Pine Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Thompson House Rehabilitation and Nursing, and Vernon Green have received approval from OneCare Vermont, a statewide accountable care organization, to accept patients into a skilled nursing facility (SNF) without the Medicare required three day inpatient hospital admission.

According to a BMH news release, the Three Day Skilled Nursing waiver is intended to reduce unnecessary hospital stays, emergency department admissions, and re-admissions. Unnecessary hospital stays result in increased costs, and expose patients to possible illness and infection, which may be avoided with the use of the new waiver.

“Under the waiver program, patients can access skilled care without making the difficult decision to pay a high out-of-pocket fee or be discharged home without the needed support to effectively and efficiently rehabilitate,” said Norman Ward, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of OneCare Vermont, said in a news release.

“We've all been waiting for this and we are thrilled to be implementing this program with our community partners to improve care for patients,” Ward added. “It offers the right patient the right care at the right time in the right place.”

BMH president and CEO Steven R. Gordon said, the hospital is “thrilled to be offering this service to our patients. BMH is pioneering this cost saving mechanism in our state and we are excited that our community will be allowed this benefit.”

The three-day inpatient stay has been a requirement of Medicare for 30 years. The (OneCare) model has given Vermont access to waivers from the Federal government to change the way health care is delivered.

Skilled Nursing Facilities must have a minimum three-star rating for seven months of the year to be eligible for the waiver. According to BMH, this waiver is the first of three to be implemented in the state.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates