Culberson Hospital “Swing Beds” Allow Medicare Patients to Recover Close to Home

The Swing Bed Team – (left) Mehdy Osorio, RN, chief nursing officer, Richard Buck, RN, assistant chief nursing officer and Roscio Onate, LVN, swing bed coordinator, are happy to assist patients and their families with any questions they may have about the Swing Bed Program at Culberson Hospital.

Contributed by Judy Blazek

Van Horn, Texas (August 9, 2017) – A 65-year-old woman has hip replacement surgery in El Paso, a 72-year-old man is discharged from another hospital after a stroke, an 85-year-old inpatient at Culberson Hospital is recovering from a severe bout of pneumonia.   

What do these patients have in common?  They all need additional time to heal and strengthen before going home, yet no longer qualify for acute inpatient care.

“The Medicare Swing Bed Program at Culberson Hospital is the perfect answer for these patients,” said Rocio Onate, LVN, swing bed coordinator, “because it allows us to provide skilled inpatient care to patients who still need physical therapy, IV medications, wound care and other services before they can safely and comfortably return home.”

“You won’t find our swing beds on the front porch of the hospital,” joked Onate.  “A swing bed designates the level of care you received and not the location the care is delivered.  In fact, if you are already an acute care patient at Culberson Hospital and need further care, you may stay in the same hospital bed but change your level of care to skilled nursing,” she explained.

The Swing Bed Program, established by the federal government in 1982, benefits both patients and the hospital:  it allows rural hospitals to use excess capacity to meet the needs of rural patients who require skilled care; and allows patients to obtain treatment in their own communities closer to support provided by family and loved ones.     

“Maintaining and improving access to quality health care services is a primary goal of Culberson Hospital,” reported Jonathon Voelkel, hospital administrator.  “As a result of our Swing Bed Program, county residents can remain or return to Van Horn to receive needed inpatient care from the same hospital and physician staff that meets their routine, emergency and acute medical needs.”

Last year, Culberson Hospital provided swing bed care to about 40 patients who stayed in the hospital average of 14 days.

If you have any questions about the Culberson Hospital Swing Bed Program, or would like to know if you or a loved one will qualify for services, please call Mehdy Osorio, RN, chief nursing officer, Richard Buck, RN, assistant chief nursing officer, or Rocio Onate, LVN, at (432) 283-2760.

“We treat all of our patients like family,” said Osorio, “and want to do everything we can to help our patients return home.”


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