New Guide Aims to Help Long-Term Care Facilities Deliver Medicare Skilled Services

Mar 25, 2011, 10:00 ET from Covenant Retirement Communities

CHICAGO, March 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Deciding when a resident is eligible to move to skilled care ranks among the most challenging dilemmas for long-term care facilities. Tracking Medicare Part A admissions rules, MDS assessments, eligibility requirements and benefits periods can stymie even the most careful administrators and clinicians -- and negatively impact reimbursements, which can average from $350 to $650 per day for each Medicare resident.

Author Elizabeth Malzahn takes the mystery out of the process with "Long-Term Care Skilled Services: Applying Medicare's Rules to Clinical Practice," a practical, easy-to-read, 147-page guide for anyone involved in resident care decisions, compliance or payments in the long-term care arena.

Chock-full of clear examples, the book illustrates the roles of key players like nursing or therapy directors, chief financial officers or administrators, and explains how to properly manage the skilled services maze to minimize critical mistakes like over- or under-payment. Malzahn covers a range of important topics, walking the reader through complex regulations, technical eligibility rules and the all-important MDS 3.0 assessment process. She provides tips and insight into virtually every aspect of skilled services, including how to properly communicate with residents and families, and attempts to dispel popular "myths" about Medicare.

Malzahn leverages her experience as national director of health care for Covenant Retirement Communities, a Chicago-based not-for-profit with 12 continuing care retirement communities across the country. Her observations there, as well as the decade she spent in an accounting firm's Health Care Consulting Group specializing in skilled nursing facilities, can help facilities set up a win-win: residents get the services they need (and have paid into over a lifetime), and the facilities receive the appropriate Medicare reimbursement. This book is designed, Malzahn said, to help facilities increase their Medicare Part A census—and avoid discharging residents too soon—as well as improve staff support for the process.

"By cutting to the basics, the book makes Medicare admission clear and concise," says author Elizabeth Malzahn. "It should make providers confident about admitting residents on Medicare and allow them to help patients access all appropriate services."

"Long-Term Care Skilled Services: Applying Medicare's Rules to Clinical Practice," is published by HCPro, Inc. and available online April 8, 2011 in the HCPro Healthcare Marketplace.

Elizabeth Malzahn, (773) 878-4430,
Colette Claxton, (954) 752-6872,

SOURCE Covenant Retirement Communities