The Role of Post-Acute Care Providers in Addressing the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: An Update
In an August 2, 2021 report, we examined changes in post-acute care (PAC) use patterns in traditional Medicare during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic (March to July 2020). We documented the role of PAC providers (particularly, skilled nursing facilities and long term care hospitals) in caring for COVID-19 patients. At the same time, we observed sharp drops in the share of discharges to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), which were offset by relative increases in discharges to home health agencies (HHAs) and inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) for non-COVID-19 patients. Since July 2020, COVID-19 has continued to take a significant toll. The U.S experienced a surge in infections, hospitalizations, and COVID-19 related deaths during the winter months from November 2020 through January 2021, before wide-spread availability of vaccines. The emergence of the highly transmissible delta variant in the U.S. during late summer of 2021 brought about third wave of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Most recently, the omicron variant, which is significantly more transmissible than the delta variant, resulted in a fourth wave of infections during winter 2021-2022. This update aims to extend the prior analysis to later phases of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) from August 2020 through January 2021. We examine whether the characteristics of Medicare patients with and without COVID-19 and discharge patterns differed after the initial COVID-19 wave.
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What Role Did Post-Acute Care Providers Play in Addressing the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency? Koenig, Lane; Unuigbe, Aig; Sheriff, Julia; Demiralp, Berna (2021-08-02)Although short-term acute care hospitals (STACHs) are the nation’s frontline in fighting severe COVID-19 infections, the post-acute care (PAC) sector—home health agencies (HHAs), skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), inpatient ...