This Basic reviews the discharge planning and medical social work services requirements for hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and home health agencies (HHAs) in the Medicare program. Medicare sets minimum health and safety standards known as conditions of participation (COPs) to protect beneficiaries and ensure quality care. Providers such as hospitals, SNFs, and HHAs must satisfy applicable COPs to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. COPs cover many domains, and the specific requirements vary by type of provider. For example, the conditions for some providers require that they provide discharge planning and medical social services to help coordinate care and manage transitions between settings for Medicare beneficiaries who need such services. The payment for these services is not a distinct fee but rather is included in Medicare's fee-for-service payment for certain provider types.
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