Navigating Long-Term Care Transitions:Insights from Forks Community Hospital

As Forks Community Hospital addresses the evolving landscape of long-term care (LTC) services, Chief Executive Officer at Forks Community Hospital, Heidi Anderson, recently offered the Forks Chamber of Commerce a candid perspective on the challenges and strategies involved in providing essential care within a complex healthcare system.

Expressing appreciation for the community’s passion, Anderson acknowledged the vital role of LTC in supporting families, drawing from personal experiences. Despite recognizing the limitations imposed by factors such as limited bed availability and systemic fractures, Anderson affirmed the hospital’s commitment to delivering comprehensive outpatient and inpatient services.

Highlighting the development of Chronic Care Management, Transitional Care Management, and Palliative Care programs coming in the future. Anderson underscored the hospital’s proactive approach to supporting individuals as they age in their homes. Emphasizing the importance of community education on LTC planning, the hospital has taken steps to increase awareness and provide resources through partnerships with organizations like Senior Information and Assistance/Olympic Area Agency on Aging.

In response to questions regarding patient transitions and care options, Anderson outlined the hospital’s protocols. Patients requiring LTC planning engage in comprehensive discussions with support systems and agencies, facilitating informed decisions about facility-based care or increased in-home support.

Anderson elaborated on the role of skilled and non-skilled swing beds in the hospital’s continuation of care. Patients admitted for acute conditions receive necessary treatments, with discharge planning integrating rehabilitation and LTC considerations. While Medicare covers up to 100 days of skilled swing bed care per year based on medical necessity, the hospital assists patients in navigating options beyond this timeframe, including secondary insurance and Medicaid coverage.

Addressing concerns about financial implications, Anderson clarified that patients exceeding Medicare coverage may transition to non-skilled swing beds only if needs can be met and if the facility has capacity within their inpatient numbers which is limited by our licensing, with payment options including private pay or Medicaid. The hospital remains committed to providing quality care while optimizing bed allocation to accommodate both acute and LTC needs.

In addition to discussing the changes with Long Term Care Anderson also shared that the hospital is continuing to add services to better serve the community, with several new staff coming on board soon. Anderson also admitted that FCH has a ‘horrible’ billing system, which will change soon with a new system that will also integrate medical information from other facilities. The new system will go live on June 27.

FCH will also be getting a new website thanks to a recent grant. Another change that patients will see is the move of the Physical Therapy Department to the former DSHS building, now called the Leibold Building, at the corner of Bogachiel Way and 5th Avenue.

As Forks Community Hospital navigates LTC transitions, collaboration with patients, families, and community partners remains a priority. With a focus on holistic care and proactive planning, the hospital seeks to empower individuals in their health journey while adapting to the evolving needs of the community.