An individual typically takes one of two paths to a skilled nursing facility: straight from the hospital or from home when they become too frail or sick to care for themselves.
In the first case, when the stay is for temporary doctor-ordered rehabilitation, the patient rarely has a say about which facility they’re transferred to. Instead, the decision is based upon bed availability, which facilities have connections to the hospital and the patient’s insurance plan.
In the second case, patients, most often seniors, do have a choice—if they do their planning and research.
Begin by figuring out which skilled-nursing facilities are covered by your Medicare plan. My parents, for example, have a Medicare HMO plan. With most HMO plans, you can go only to doctors, healthcare providers or hospitals on the plan’s list, except in an emergency.
Since my father will soon be living at a skilled-nursing facility and may need medical care there in the future, it’s important that he’s able to use his Medicare coverage plan to pay for treatment.