If you leave a skilled nursing facility (SNF) and return to that SNF or another one within 30 days, you do not need another three-day qualifying hospital stay. If you return after 30 days have passed, Medicare will not pay unless you have been in the hospital for another three-day qualifying stay in the 30 days before you enter the SNF.

Medicare will only cover your care in a SNF while you are there. If you need to leave the SNF for any reason, including going to the hospital, Medicare will not pay to hold your bed at the SNF. Also, though you may qualify for Medicare-covered SNF care after you leave the hospital, you may not be able to return to the same SNF, for instance if the SNF no longer has space for you.

In some cases, you may be able to save a bed at a SNF if you need to leave the SNF for a short period. The SNF can charge for this service, and you will be responsible for paying the full cost of the charge out of pocket. In some states, Medicaid may pay for the bed-hold. If you have Medicaid, contact your local Medicaid office for more information.