Long-Term Acute Care Moves Forward: Moratorium ended
It’s gratifying to see first-hand how patients with critical and complex needs improve—thanks to long-term acute care hospitals or LTACHs.
And now, since the Moratorium restricting LTACHs officially ended on September 30, 2017, more patients will have greater availability to be cared for in the specialized care setting of an LTACH. With the Moratorium sunset, LTACH growth opportunities are expected to blossom.
Patient success stories abound. One example shared with me about a patient at one of CHC’s 11 LTACHs is particularly memorable. A gentleman in his 40s experienced a fall at home. Arriving at the Emergency Department, he was placed on a ventilator and spent several days in the ICU; his prognosis was guarded. Subsequently, he was transferred to a CHC LTACH, weaned off the ventilator, and returned home with support from home health care services. Later, accompanied by family members, he returned to personally thank caregivers for the care he received.
Approximately 437 Medicare-certified LTACHs exist across the country, operating as a hospital within a hospital, a hospital satellite, or as a freestanding model. But over the past several years, new rules and qualifiers for admission have been imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
At CHC, we advocate on behalf of LTACHs and the ability to serve LTACH patients, many of whom are on ventilators, have gone through a great deal of trauma, and need extended hospitalization beyond a short-term acute-care hospital stay.
Our unique model and multidisciplinary approach to care for optimal recovery—all customized to the individual patient and with family input—supports the LTACH as an essential component of the patient care continuum.
- LTACHs supplement the services provided by acute-care hospitals, extending patient care. Key characteristics of this care setting:
- A multidisciplinary approach to care. An LTACH offers services including pulmonary and ventilator support, wound care, radiology, physical, occupational, dietary and respiratory therapy services.
- The patient and family participate together in a personalized patient care plan.
- A 25-day patient average length of stay
- Acute care physician coverage 24/7
- Availability of invasive monitoring and medical support devices
Fully-integrated LTACHs not only extend the continuum of care, hospitals and healthcare organizations benefit through cross-utilization of services and resources.