Some patients can be safely discharged from skilled nursing facilities faster than they currently are, a new study has found.

And not just a day or two, either:  as much as a week or more.

The study focused on patients who had been in SNFs for about 20 days – the point at which Medicare beneficiaries begin shouldering a portion of the cost of their nursing care.  Discharging some of these patients a week early, the study found, did not affect rehospitalization by day 28 for 98 percent of the patients discharged around day 20.

The study, its authors assert, has implications for the home health industry, for the participation of SNFs in accountable care organizations and other shared savings models, for overall Medicare spending, and more.

Learn more about the study and its implications in the Health Affairs study “Outcomes After Shortened Skilled Nursing Facility Stays Suggest Potential For Improving Postacute Care Efficiency” and find a summary of the study in the McKnight’s Long-Term Care News article “Researchers find many nursing home stays far too long, warn providers to become more efficient.”