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Sub-Acute Rehabilitation provides acute care in an inpatient setting for those recovering from injury, illness, or un-managed symptoms from a disease process. Care is provided at a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) and can include a team of physicians, therapists, nurses, certified nursing assistances (CNA’s), and social services that work together with the patient towards a safe discharge home. Admission into a sub-acute rehabilitation center follows a qualifying hospital stay and requires physician orders.

Average Length of Stay

A patient will remain in Sub-acute rehabilitation as long as their condition is improving. Once improvement has ceased, their condition stabilizes, or prior level is reached the patient will need to discharge. Some patients will only stay a one to two weeks, others will need to remain longer.

Who pays for it

Sub-acute rehabilitation is usually covered by Medicare, AHCCCS, Medicare Advantage plans, and private insurance. Patients will usually be responsible for a co-pay so it’s important to understand your insurance benefits prior to admission. Under Medicare the first twenty days in a benefit period there will be no co-pay but days 21-100 will have a copay of about $140. Any days over 100 will not be covered in a benefit period. Veterans enrolled in the VA may have coverage for sub-acute rehabilitation at a VHA medical facility.

What I should know

A three day qualifying hospital stay is required by Medicare and most insurance for admission. An admission can happen any time within thirty days of the qualifying hospital stay.

Sub-acute rehabilitation is usually provided in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) where other levels of care are available including long term care (link) and memory care (link). An admission under sub-acute rehabilitation is usually covered by insurance but long term care and memory care are not.

Assistance with activities of daily living will be provided to the patient while in a sub-acute rehabilitation center but there must be a skilled reason for admission.

Where do I go from here

From a sub-acute rehabilitation program a person will likely discharge with home health, but may discharge home with orders for outpatient therapy or with no additional services. A person may be referred to hospice at this point.

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