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Although approximately one in five Medicare beneficiaries are discharged from hospital acute care to postacute care at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), little is known about access to timely medical care for these patients after they are admitted to a SNF. Our analysis of 2,392,753 such discharges from hospitals under fee-for-service Medicare in the period January 2012-October 2014 indicated that first visits by a physician or advanced practitioner (a nurse practitioner or physician assistant) for initial medical assessment occurred within four days of SNF admission in 71.5 percent of the stays. However, there was considerable variation in days to first visit at the regional, facility, and patient levels. We estimated that in 10.4 percent of stays there was no physician or advanced practitioner visit. Understanding the underlying reasons for, and consequences of, variability in timing and receipt of initial medical assessment after admission to a SNF for postacute care may prove important for improving patient outcomes and particularly relevant to current efforts to promote value-based purchasing in postacute care.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Health affairs (Project Hope)
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Visits made by patients to health service providers' offices for diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up.
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