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Post-Hospital Skilled Nursing Facility Care Provided to Dually Eligible Beneficiaries

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are specially qualified facilities that provide extended care services, such as skilled nursing care, rehabilitation services, and other services to Medicare beneficiaries who meet certain conditions. During previous OIG reviews, we noted that some nursing facility residents who were receiving Medicaid-covered nursing home care were admitted to a hospital and returned to the same facility to receive Medicare-covered post-hospital SNF care. In some cases, hospital physicians discharged beneficiaries to "home" rather than "SNF," yet nursing facility physicians certified that skilled care was needed. Because Medicare pays substantially more for SNF care than Medicaid for nursing home care, nursing facilities have financial incentives to increase the level of care to "skilled."

We will determine whether the post-hospital SNF care provided to dually eligible beneficiaries met the level of care requirements. Specifically, we will determine whether (1) the SNF level of care was certified by a physician (e.g., a hospital or SNF physician) or a physician extender (i.e., a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or physician assistant); (2) the condition treated at the SNF was a condition for which the beneficiary received inpatient hospital services or a condition that arose while the beneficiary was receiving care in a SNF for a condition for which the beneficiary received inpatient hospital services; (3) daily skilled care was required; (4) the services delivered were reasonable and necessary for the treatment of a beneficiary's illness or injury; and (5) improper Medicare payments were made on the claims we review. We will also determine whether any of the hospital admissions we review were potentially avoidable.

Announced or Revised Agency Title Component Report Number(s) Expected Issue Date (FY)
March 2019 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Post-Hospital Skilled Nursing Facility Care Provided to Dually Eligible Beneficiaries Office of Audit Services W-00-19-35821 2020