February 26, 2024
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A 65-year-old woman has hip replacement surgery in Lubbock, a 72-year-old man is discharged from another hospital after a stroke, an 85-year-old inpatient at Muleshoe Area Medical Center (MAMC) is recovering from a severe bout of pneumonia.
What do these patients have in common? They all need additional time to heal and strengthen before going home, yet no longer qualify for acute inpatient care.
“The Medicare Swing Bed Program at MAMC is the perfect answer for these patients,” said Ginger Yaeger, RN, chief nursing officer, “because it allows us to provide skilled inpatient care to patients who still need physical
therapy, IV medications, wound care and other services before they can safely and comfortably return home.”
“You won’t find our swing beds on the front porch of the hospital,” joked Yaeger. “A swing bed designates the level of care you receive and not the location the care is delivered. In fact, if you are already an acute care patient at MAMC and need further care, you may actually stay in the same hospital bed but we will change your level of care to skilled nursing,” she explained.
The Swing Bed Program, established by Medicare in 1982, benefits both patients and the hospital: it allows rural hospitals to
use excess capacity to meet the needs of rural patients who require skilled care; and allows patients to obtain treatment in their own communities closer to support provided by family and loved ones.
“Maintaining and improving access to quality healthcare services is a primary goal of Muleshoe Area Medical Center,” reported Dennis Fleenor, hospital administrator.
“As a result of our Swing Bed Program, county residents can remain or return to Muleshoe to receive needed inpatient care from the same hospital and staff that meets their routine, emergency and acute medical needs.”
“All of the Medicare rules and regulations that determine benefits,
copayments and deductibles can be very confusing,” said Yaeger. “So if you have any questions about the the MAMC Swing Bed Program, or would like to know if you or a loved one will qualify for services, please call me at (806) 272-4524.”
“We treat all of our patients like family,” said Yaeger, “and want to do everything we can to help our patients return home.”

Rhea Gonzales

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