March 23, 2020—The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has clarified its position on the use of swing beds, saying that swing beds can accept patients without a three-day inpatient stay.
In a question and answer response to the issue, CMS stated the following:
Q. Does waiving the requirement at Section 1812(f) of the Social Security Act for a 3-day prior hospitalization for coverage of a skilled nursing facility (SNF) stay apply to swing-bed services furnished by Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and rural (non-CAH) swing-bed hospitals?
A. Yes, under this waiver, critical access hospitals (CAHs) and rural (non-CAH) swing-bed hospitals may furnish extended care services to SNF-level patients who have not had a 3-day prior hospitalization in that or any other facility. The Social Security Act permits CAHs and rural (non-CAH) swing-bed hospitals to enter into a swing bed agreement, under which the hospital can use its beds, as needed, to provide either acute or SNF level of care.
This latest development from CMS comes on the heels of a special bulletin this morning in which Ronald Hirsch, MD reported that the CMS guidance on the use of swing beds was in need of clarification.
This is a developing story.