Are There Really Medicaid Beds?

Contrary to what you might think, there are not actual Medicaid beds—those that would actually be provided to you by Medicaid. Instead, what our question is referring to is the “bed hold” policy. This policy goes into effect when the resident of a nursing home, who receives Medicaid benefits, is discharged to the hospital. Medicaid will pay to hold the bed for up to eight days if it seems unlikely that a bed will be available to the resident upon their return. However, if it looks like there will be no trouble for the patient to find a bed when or she returns, Medicaid may not pay for it.

If they will not pay to hold the bed, the nursing home may enlist the family to pay privately in order to hold the bed and ensure its availability upon the resident’s return to the facility.

It should be known that this type of request by a facility is not technically illegal, but the family should not automatically assume that private payment is needed. If your family is in this type of situation, you should first contact the nursing home administrator and see what the most current bed census is. If there are still plenty of beds available, you may elect to not pay privately to hold the bed. If the bed is still available when your loved one returns from the hospital, he or she will then go back to the same nursing home and get the same Medicaid benefits. However, even if there is no bed available within that particular nursing home when the patient gets out of the hospital, the worst-case scenario is that they will be discharged to a different facility without any interruption of Medicaid benefits.

If you would like to know more about the Medicaid Bed-Hold policy, you can view our other article entitled, “What are Medicaid Beds?”