Frequently asked questions
Being admitted to a SNF
Most of the time, the answer is yes. However, in some circumstances you may be admitted to a non-premier, contracted SNF instead. This may be because you need specialized services that are only available at a contracted SNF or because there are no beds available at a premier SNF.
A contracted SNF is a facility that Kaiser Permanente has evaluated and approved based on industry ratings, patient satisfaction surveys, and community feedback. There are some differences between premier SNFs and non-premier, contracted SNFs; for example, a Kaiser Permanente case manager may be in contact with a non-premier, contracted SNF about three times per week, but is usually not located at that facility.
If you have questions about these differences, talk to your Kaiser Permanente case manager.
You’ll be assigned a Permanente health care team that includes a physician and a case manager. In addition, you will likely work with various therapists who will help with your rehabilitation.
Because the focus is on restoring your independence, you’ll have more freedom and more choices at the SNF than in the hospital. As you continue to improve, your health care team will work with you on setting new recovery goals, and planning for your discharge.
Your Permanente physician, along with the SNF rehab team, will decide if you need skilled nursing care and for how long. On average, patients stay a maximum of 3 weeks.
You will need to bring your Kaiser Permanente member ID card and all other cards for health insurance, including Medicare. Also, ask a family member or friend to bring a copy of your durable power of attorney for health care and your advance directive documents, if you have them. In general, you’ll need clothing that’s comfortable and easy to put on and take off, such as button-down shirts, loose slacks, and shoes that do not make floor marks (sneakers or tennis/athletic shoes, for example). You’ll also want to bring personal items, such as a brush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shaving cream, deodorant, and shampoo. All items should be clearly marked with your name, including eyeglass cases, denture containers, and articles of clothing.
No. SNFs do not allow you to bring medicine from your home. The facility will provide all medicine. This includes any prescribed medicine you were taking before your admission, as well as over-the-counter medicine, such as cold medicines, antacids, Tylenol, and aspirin. The nursing facility can only give medicine ordered by the hospital physician or the SNF physician. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, oral chemotherapy medications may not be available at the SNF, and you may be asked to bring this in from home.
If needed, the SNF usually will provide the following items during your stay: hospital bed (manual or semi-electric), standard wheelchairs, standard walkers, bedside commodes, and canes.
If you need special equipment, a Permanente physician will order it. Coverage and cost for the special equipment depends on your Kaiser Permanente benefit plan. Please refer to your Evidence of Coverage, Certificate of Insurance, or Schedule of Coverage for information about your medical equipment benefit.
Based on proven medical guidelines, your Permanente physician and the SNF health care team will decide when you’ll be discharged. You’ll be notified when that decision has been made.
When you’re about to transfer from the hospital to a premier SNF, your primary care physician will be notified. Upon arriving at the premier SNF, you will be assigned a health care team that includes a Permanente physician and case manager.
This team is responsible for managing your rehabilitation plan, along with other therapists, as required. Your primary care physician will continue to have access to your digital health record and can follow your progress in the SNF by communicating with the Permanente physician at the SNF as needed.
Later, when you’re about to be discharged, your primary care physician will be notified and your SNF case manager will schedule a follow-up appointment for you with your primary care physician.
That appointment will usually take place within 5 to 7 days after your discharge. Of course, you may also call your primary care physician yourself to arrange the appointment if you prefer.
At a Kaiser Permanente premier SNF, your Permanente physician will usually see you at least once a week. The SNF itself has its own nurses and social workers available in the facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Permanente physicians are available by pager and telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If there are changes in your condition, the SNF nursing staff will inform the Permanente physician.
Leaving the SNF
If you need medical transportation, the SNF will make arrangements for you.
In most cases, nonemergency transportation is not a covered benefit. This includes includes private cars, taxis, gurney vans, wheelchair vans, and other non-ambulance transportation. For example, if you need a ride to see your physician for a follow-up visit, you are responsible for the transportation costs.
For non-urgent transportation needs, the SNF social worker can help you to arrange transportation.
Your Kaiser Permanente health care team and the SNF staff will help with your discharge from the SNF.
If you’re going to a private home or other housing, your primary care physician will want to discuss ongoing care with you. Your Kaiser Permanente health care team can help arrange a follow-up appointment with your primary care physician to take place 5 to 7 days after your discharge, or you can call your the physician’s office directly.
Your Kaiser Permanente case manager can also help arrange to have rehabilitation equipment delivered to your home, along with skilled care from a home health nurse or therapist.
For more information about your benefits coverage, your health plan, or your rights to appeal a medical decision, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage, Certificate of Insurance, or Schedule of Coverage, depending on your Kaiser Permanente plan.
You can also speak with your case manager or call Member Services toll-free at 800-777-7902 (TTY 711), Monday through Friday (closed holidays), 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET.
Members enrolled in Medicare Plus may call Member Services at 888-777-5536 (TTY 711), 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.