Hospital board discusses reinterpreted guideline for long-term care


May 19, 2022

POMEROY-The Garfield County Hospital District (GCHD) board of commissioners held a special meeting to discuss the results of a Washington State Department of Health and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services survey on May 9. One specific reinterpretation involved what patients are allowed in the swing bed section. The Interpretive Guidelines for swing bed placement and according to one of the two surveyors, stated there can be no long-term care service given through the swing-bed program, called permanent swing beds. The contended line can be found in Appendix W and reads “While there is no length of stay limit for patients in swing-bed status, the intended use for swing beds is for a transitional time period to allow the patient to fully recover to return home or while awaiting placement into a nursing facility.”

The loss of permanent swing beds would result in a $1 million net loss of revenue for the Garfield County Memorial Hospital, causing costs for other patients’ care to rise.

The survey was suspended on May 4 due to safety concerns over the rally held on May 5. The survey will remain open until the surveyors return. The hospital will remain in good standing during the interim and will be able to continue operations as normal, although the board agreed that accepting permanent swing patients before knowing the outcome of the survey would be irresponsible.

GCHD Commissioner Mike Field encouraged the public to contact their legislators, particularly Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, to keep the matter on the forefront of their minds.

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