WMC Swing Bed Program

What is the “Swing Bed Program?”

To serve the needs of smaller hospitals and communities, Medicare has established coverage for “Swing Bed” programs. Swing Bed is the term Medicare uses to describe a hospital room that can switch from acute care status to skilled care status. The actual bed/room does not change; what changes is the level of care that the patient in that room receives.

Winston Medical Center offers a Medicare Swing Bed Program as an alternative to prolonged acute hospitalization or short term nursing facility placement for post-acute extended care. The swing bed program provides skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services. This may include IV therapy as well as physical/occupational and speech therapy.


In order to qualify for Swing Bed Services, a patient must meet the following requirements:

  • Be covered by Medicare Part A
  • Have had 3 overnights in an acute care bed prior to Swing Bed services
  • Have an ongoing diagnosis and needs that require skilled care as defined by Medicare

*Some private insurance plans cover Swing Bed services; your discharge planning nurse can help you verify benefits if necessary.

Common Diagnoses

Common diagnoses treated in this program include patients with extended IV therapy needs, orthopedic surgeries (hip/knee replacements), fractures, post-surgical procedures, neurological disorders (stroke), and generalized weakness due to CHF, COPD, pneumonia, and other chronic conditions.

Length of Stay

The length of stay in Swing Bed is dependent upon individual patient needs and progress. Average length of stay is 3-5 days. Medicare will cover up to 20 days at 100% providing the patient has a skilled need. It is very important to understand that Swing Bed care requires the use of the Medicare patient’s skilled nursing facility benefit. Swing Bed is not intended for permanent placement; it is for continued care until the patient returns home or transfers to a facility for longer term care.

Patients are discharged from Swing Bed Services when:

  • They have achieved the maximum benefit of skilled nursing or rehabilitation, as determined by the physician
  • The care being provided has become custodial in nature
  • The patient’s continuing care requires long term rehabilitation placement
  • There is a change in the patient’s needs/level of care


Winston Medical Center is pleased to offer this service to this community and we look forward to serving you and your family. If you have further questions or would like more information on this program, you may contact our Social Worker at 662-779-5118.