DHHS starts new plan to ease burden on hospitals

Plan to move patients that don't need hospital level care to skilled nursing and rehab facilities

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Due to the impact COVID-19 is having on hospitals across the state, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) along with the Nebraska Hospitals Association (NHA) started a plan to help ease the burden on the already stretched thin hospitals.

The plan is to move patients who don’t need hospital-level care out of the hospitals and into skilled nursing and rehab facilities. This will free up beds in the hospitals so they can treat more people who need care.

In January, NHA found a combined total of between 140 and 160 patients who could be discharged to skilled nursing care when they surveyed the largest hospitals in the state. NHA says on top of that number, every week there are an additional 30-35 patients in need.

Angela Ling, the incident commander and director of preparedness at DHHS, says, “We have a lot of people that sit in the hospitals for extended periods of time that no longer actually need that hospital level of care.”

The plan is not just for elderly patients who would be going to skilled nursing facilities anyway, this is for anyone that doesn’t need hospital-level care.

In Lincoln, the facility they will be sending patients to is the Seagren House near 34th and Old Cheyney.

The DHHS says this is a short-term plan that they hope will bridge the gap between now and when they can make long-term changes to this type of care.

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