Porter Medical Center receives waiver for skilled nursing care

COLCHESTER — Hospitals and skilled nursing facilities in Middlebury and Brattleboro have received approval from OneCare Vermont, a statewide accountable care organization (ACO), to accept patients into a skilled nursing facility (SNF) without the Medicare required three-day inpatient and/or previous SNF admission.
The SNF 3-Day Rule Waiver is intended to reduce unnecessary hospital stays, emergency department admissions and readmissions. Unnecessary hospital stays result in increased costs and exposes patients to illness and possible infection, and may be avoided with the use of this waiver.
UVM Health Network Porter Medical Center and Helen Porter Rehabilitation and Nursing in Middlebury were the first organizations to admit patients using the SNF 3-Day Rule Waiver and have admitted ten patients to date. Skilled nursing facilities must have a minimum three-star rating to be eligible for the waiver. There are eighteen eligible SNFs in Vermont and many facilities are preparing to admit patients by the end of the year.
Norman Ward, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of OneCare Vermont said, “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. 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. It offers the right patient the right care at the right time in the right place.”
Mary Jane Nottonson, administrator at Helen Porter Rehabilitation and Nursing said, “This waiver represents a significant new opportunity for us to ensure that we can deliver the right care in the best setting based on the clinical needs of our patients. We are proud to be establishing this program here in our community.”
The three-day inpatient stay has been a requirement of Medicare for 30 years. OneCare, as a Next Generation ACO, has given Vermont access to waivers from the Federal government to change the way health care is delivered. This waiver is the first of three to be implemented in the state.

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