Saturday, February 24, 2018

Joni Schaff

Seniors hear about hospice and nursing home care

Senior Center News
This week’s column has us again sending condolences to the families of former Hardin residents who passed away this week: Gladys Freeman, Levy Johnson, Roberta Snively and Harley Klein. Please know their many friends are thinking of you and send our thoughts and prayers. We all knew these people in different times in our lives, and they were an important part of our community.
A donation has been received from Wilma Puich of Butte for Meals On Wheels in memory of Bea Bullis.
The Senior Citizens Association has received donations from Kathryn Koch and Deloris Luther in memory of Lavonn Hayford, longtime Hardin Senior Center patron and friend to all. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.
All ages are invited to participate in Grandma’s Trunk Guessing Game. Each week through November, clues will be displayed Monday through Thursday. The first person to have a correct answer drawn is the winner of a free meal at the senior center. Stop in, take a look, make a guess and maybe stay for lunch.
A speaker from Compassus Hospice in Bozeman will be here at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 8 to tell what the hospice is all about and what they can offer the citizens in our community.
The seniors meeting will be held on Thursday, Nov. 9, and the center will be closed on Friday, Nov. 10 for Veterans Day. The Thanksgiving and birthday dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 15. Please call to make reservation before Tuesday, Nov. 14. Our phone number is (406) 665-2581.
SHIP (State Health Insurance Program) Counselor Patricia Fischer is available each weekday from 2-4 p.m. The phone number is (406) 665-9768. For questions and concerns about Medicare insurance and Part D Prescription coverage, call her for information or an appointment.
This month’s Care Share subject is about skilled nursing facilities (SNF’s), also known as “nursing homes.”  The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) helps to educate Medicare beneficiaries about ways to prevent, detect and combat Medicare fraud.
A skilled nursing facility is often a stop on the way home from the hospital for patients who require continued professional care. To be eligible for Medicare payment of nursing home charges, a patient must have spent a minimum of three days (not including the day of discharge) as a hospital inpatient, have Part A coverage, be certified by a doctor as need in skilled care or rehabilitation services, be sent to the SNF that is certified by Medicare or part or your Medicare Advantage plan network, and have days left in your “benefit period.”
First, it is critical that the patient has spent at least three days in the hospital as an inpatient before being sent to the SNF. Time spent, say, in the emergency room before admission doesn’t count because the ER visit is considered an outpatient visit. Also, while you may be moved to somewhere in the hospital that looks like a regular hospital room, you may still be considered “under observation” rather than being admitted as an inpatient. The hospital is required to notify you of your observational status within a certain period of time, but if there’s a chance you may be discharged to an SNF, you or a caregiver must ensure the three-day rule is met.
Medicare payment for nursing home care depends on how long you’ve been in the facility and how much time has elapsed between stays if you require multiple stays. If you have not previously been in and SNF and meet the criteria for Medicare payment, Medicare will cover days 1-20 with no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Days 21-100 incur a co-insurance fee of $164.50 per day (which may be paid by Medigap or a Medicare Advantage plan). You are fully responsible for all charges after the 100th day.
However, if you are discharged and are out of the SNF for more than 30 days, you need a new three-day hospital stay to qualify for Medicare coverage again, and that coverage picks up where you left off from the last stay.
In addition, if you believe your rights, or those of a family member have been violated while they are living in a nursing home, you may file a complaint the Quality Assurance Division of the state Department of Public Health and Human Services by calling (406) 444-2099. A local ombudsman can be reached at the Area II Agency on Aging at 1-800-551-3191. An ombudsman is a resident advocate for nursing home residents.
Hardin Senior Center menu:
Thursday, Nov. 2 – hamburger gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, dessert
Friday, Nov. 3 – sloppy joes, chips, dip, salad, dessert
Monday, Nov. 6 – tacos, rice, beans, dessert
Tuesday, Nov. 7 – white chili, sandwich, dessert
Wednesday, Nov. 8 – meat loaf, potatoes, gravy, vegetables, dessert
Thursday, Nov. 9 – sweet and sour chicken, rice, vegetables, dessert