A Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) is used interchangeably with the term “nursing home” but it is a place where the staff have more medical expertise and services available to help injured, sick, or disabled individuals. The staff of SNFs include registered nurses, licensed practical and vocational nurses, licensed physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists. A medical director is appointed to oversee clinical quality and implement medical policies.

All skilled nursing facilities are regulated by the Department of Health and must meet certain criteria to be certified by Medicare or Medicaid.  For example, the SNF must have a transfer agreement in place with hospitals in case a patient requires emergency care, restorative, or rehabilitation care.

According to the Medicare Web site, care that can be administered by a non-professional staff isn’t considered skilled care. Medicare covers skilled care services that are needed daily for up to 100 days.

For more information about requirements for skilled nursing, see Medicare Coverage of SNF Care.