A new publication is available from the North Carolina Rural Health Research & Policy Analysis Center. Download “Final Report: Trends in Skilled Nursing Facility and Swing Bed Use in Rural Areas Following the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 ” here.
This final report looks at whether the availability of post-acute skilled care has stabilized, and how and where it is being provided today, now that the reimbursement policy changes that began with the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 have been fully implemented.
Key findings include:
- Options for post-acute skilled care are available for many rural residents but availability and choice are limited for some residents residing in the most rural areas.
- The swing bed program represents a very small proportion of all post-acute skilled care in rural areas, but may be important for access for certain populations.
- Access to hospital-based SNFs has declined in rural areas.
- Swing bed participation and total swing bed days have grown.
- The proportion of CAHs with swing beds has not changed and the contribution of swing beds to CAH average daily census has increased only modestly and only in the most rural areas.