A: Use one of the “compare tools” on www.medicare.gov
to find a nursing home, hospital, home health care provider, dialysis facility, medical equipment supplier or long-term care hospital that best fit your needs.
Look on the lower left hand page of the home screen and pick the type of facility. Let’s use “find nursing homes” near Columbia, TN (zip code 38401) as an example.
Your initial inquiry will show 10 nursing homes within 25 miles of Columbia listed in order of nearest to farthest. Your next step is to narrow the list down by using search criteria (filters) representing what’s important to you.
Personally, I like to start with eliminating those facilities with poor quality ratings. The list of 10 facilities is whittled down to 4 facilities by entering “above average” star ratings as a filter. The facility at the top of the list, NHC-Maury Regional Transitional Care Center, looks promising.
Depending on your circumstances, you might not want to stop there. If you are on Medicare, you’ll want to be sure they accept Medicare. Is there any chance you may need Medicaid in the future? To be safe, add “accepts Medicare” and “accepts Medicaid” to your search criteria.
What does your list look like now? NHC-Maury Regional Transitional Care Center has dropped off the list because they do not accept Medicaid. That may or may not impact your decision, but at least now you have some information to use in your decision making process.
I wouldn’t make my final decision based on this tool alone. Given the opportunity, you should tour whatever facility yourself prior to making your final selection. If you’re not able to do that yourself, send someone whose opinion you trust.