Long Term Acute Care hospitals (LTACHs) play an important part in the treatment of complex or multiple medical issues. Designed to provide specialized care, an LTAC facility usually treats patients transferred from intensive care units in traditional hospitals. These select patients usually require treatment that is more specialized or intense than what is normally provided in even acute care hospitals. Most patients who are admitted are expected to recover and return home. The diagnosis categories for long term acute care facilities most frequently include:
One advantage of LTAC hospitals is that they relieve the intensive care units in traditional hospitals from cases where a long hospital stay is necessary, thereby allowing the hospitals to accept more new admissions.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines a long term acute care facility as “a hospital which has an average inpatient length of stay of greater than 25 days.” Patients are predominantly covered by Medicare insurance and sometimes by Medicaid. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have proposed an update for the payment rates and policies for inpatient services in LTACH facilities that would take place in 2017. This is one of many efforts underway to control health care costs without sacrificing quality care.
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