Swing Bed Program

Not ready to go home?

Most inpatients do not need to stay in the hospital for more than a few days, but this is not always an adequate amount of time for patients to recover from serious illness or injury to a point where they can safely return home. The Swing Bed Program is a Medicare-funded program that provides you with a chance to receive extended care in a hospital setting.

Swing bed is a form of transitional care. Most patients who use this service do so because they need further treatment before they can return home. These patients have already finished the acute phase of their care, meaning they do not need the same rigorous medical assistance they did when they first arrived, but could still benefit from hospital services close to home.

Swing Bed is offered at CentraCare hospitals in Long Prairie, Melrose, Monticello, Paynesville, Redwood Falls and Sauk Centre.

Swing Bed Services

As a swing bed patient, you will continue to have access to many hospital amenities and assistance from nurses and medical professionals. You also will be able to benefit from onsite technology and services while you work on regaining your independence.

Some of the skilled care services offered in swing bed through the Medicare program include:

  • IV therapy
  • Sterile dressing changes
  • Wound care
  • Post-surgical follow-up care
  • Monitoring of a new/changed medication
  • Rehabilitation on a daily basis
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Lab work
  • Nutrition counseling

Our program is designed to be short term, and our team will start planning discharge with you during your time here. Deciding when to leave the hospital will be a collaborative effort between you, your family, your doctor, and the hospital staff.

Beginning Care

During an acute hospital stay, your physician will determine if skilled care is needed, and a referral can be made to the patient care coordinator or social worker at the CentraCare hospital offering Swing Bed closer to your home. Ask your health care team if Swing Bed care is the right next step for you.

What type of health care will I receive during my swing bed stay?

During a swing bed stay staff help patients achieve their optimum level of function and self-care. The goal is to help the patient return to their home independently or with the help of other community resources such as: home health care, Lifeline or outpatient therapy.

Upon admission, a plan of care will be established. The physician will oversee the plan of care but will not see the patient on a daily basis.

The nursing staff will notify the physician of any changes or other health care needs as they arise. The patient’s plan of care will be reviewed every 5-7 days.

Because patients’ needs during recovery are unique, treatment plans are tailored to the situation.


Medicare will cover skilled swing bed if:

  • You have Medicare Part A and have days left in your benefit period available to use.
  • You have a consecutive, three-day, acute in-patient hospitalization immediately prior to skilled swing bed care.
  • Your doctor has determined that you need daily skilled care. Care must be given by, or under the direct supervision of, skilled nursing or rehabilitation staff.

Medicare coverage is limited to 100 days of skilled swing bed care. If you meet skilled criteria, Medicare will cover 100 percent of the first 20 days. You may be discharged before 20 days if daily skilled criteria ends. If you require a stay past 20 days, co-insurance dollars or self-payment will be assigned from day 21 to 100. Most Medicare Replacement plans also require prior authorization prior to admission to skilled swing bed. Non-Medicare swing bed/transitional care is also available. Swing bed/transitional care services covered by private insurances require prior authorization prior to admission.

Ending Care

When your skilled care need ends, Medicare coverage ends for the skilled swing bed stay. Length of stay for non-Medicare/transitional care is determined by the individual’s private insurance plan. If the patient does not feel ready to go home at that time, the patient has the following options:

  • Non-skilled swing bed care at the hospital. The patient is responsible for payment of a daily, fixed rate. This is a private pay cost to the patient. Medicare does not cover custodial (non-skilled) care.
  • A patient may choose to recover further at a nursing home.
  • A patient may wish to return home with a family member or seek an alternative living arrangement (i.e., assisted living).

To find out more about the Swing Bed program near you contact: