Acute Care (Hospital), Inpatient Acute Rehabilitation (IRF), Sub-Acute,  SNF, LTC, LTAC – The Alphabet Soup of Care Facilities. – Advocate for Mom &  Dad

With the number of abbreviations that are present in today’s healthcare world, everything tends to be super confusing because each letter makes a huge difference. When it comes to LTC (Long Term Care) and LTACH (Long Term Acute Care Hospital), that is exactly the case since they both represent two different types of health care. There is a lot to learn more about LTAC in Virginia, and we are here to tell you the difference between an LTACH and LTC in Virginia.

Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH) versus Long Term Care (LTC)

What is the purpose of LTACH? The Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH) is there to provide care for patients who have multiple serious medical conditions that would require you, as a patient, to stay longer than is encouraged in traditional hospitals. They help in facilitating prompt discharge of clinically complex patients, patients would receive care for an extended period of time before they feel well enough to return home or go to rehab.

They are certified acute care hospitals and the average length of a patient’s stay must be 25 days or greater, and they need to have intensive medical care. The LTACHs have the same accreditation and regulatory standards as a traditional hospital, the only difference would have to be the wide range of clinically complex services that they could offer.

Long Term Care (LTC) on the other hand, is considered custodial care because it is for patients when they have reached their greatest potential after they have experienced an acute illness. They would still need assistance in order to perform self-care and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) even after they attend intensive care therapy. These are tasks like grooming, eating, dressing, and using the bathroom.

LTC is not granted lightly. Patients who require long-term care have criteria that they must meet before a placement is even considered. Proof of medical necessity would have to be required in order to verify that the care cannot be delivered safely and would have cost-effectively in another setting since LTC is 24-hour care that provides services like”

  • Nursing care
  • Medical oversight
  • Restorative therapies
  • Social services
  • Meals
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupation therapy
  • Speech therapy

When it comes to LTC, few people are admitted. When a person has an acute illness or when an accident occurs, the person is hospitalized for acute care, rehabilitated to be strong enough to go home, then they are admitted to a subacute facility and transitioned for LTC if they are deemed unsafe to return back home.

Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTCH)

  • Medical Care Part A
  • Private Insurance
  • Acute Care
  • Return to Wellness
  • 25 Day average length of stay
  • Discharge to Home or a skilled nursing facility

Long Term Care (LTC)

  • Indefinite length of stay
  • Long term placement
  • Custodial Care
  • Maintain current level
  • Medicaid
  • Long Term Care Insurance

How long can you stay in an LTAC facility?

You should stay for more than 25 days in a Long Term Acute Care Hospital, but the average length of how long a person usually stays is over a month (30 days) These are just some of the types of patients that you would typically see in LTACHs:

  • Multiple IV medications 
  • Complex wound care
  • Care for burn
  • Multiple IV transfusions
  • Prolonged ventilator use or weaning
  • Ongoing dialysis for chronic renal failure
  • Intensive respiratory care

How much does LTAC cost?

LTACHs are reimbursed based on their cost under the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 instead of being a part of the prospective payment system. When it is time for discharge, the payments would usually be $22,500 per discharge. The average cost of a patient who is requiring a high level of care would have to be around $1,100 to $1,200, meanwhile, patients who require a low level of care would have to pay an average of $400 to $500 per day. Managed care companies would usually welcome referrals because that is significantly less expensive than the average cost of an intensive care unit (ICU), which would have to be $1,500 to $2,500 per day.

LTACHs are usually described as hospitals within hospitals because they are needed for niche care, particularly in the Medicare and the health maintenance organizations as they pressure acute care hospitals by having lower reimbursements in order to reduce the lengths of stays a patient would need to have.