IDPH Issues Hospital Transfer Guidance

April 7, 2020

Today IDPH issued guidance on the transfer of patients from hospital settings to skilled and intermediate long-term care facilities. For the past two weeks, IHA has been working with partners across the continuum from IHCA, LeadingAge Illinois and HCCI to craft protocols for the transfer of patients from the hospital to post-acute setting.

The guidance sets forth protocols which ensure the ability of hospitals to be able to transfer patients to the post-acute setting, regardless of COVID-19 status. While this guidance may not be a panacea to addressing every issue hospitals are facing with discharge to the post-acute setting, IHA believes these guidelines offer hospitals a strong stance to fall back on when met with resistance of accepting transfers from the post-acute care setting.

Following are some of the key pieces of IDPH’s guidance:  

  • Hospitals should be assessing for COVID-19 prior to transfer but patients with no clinical concern for COVID do not need to be tested prior to transfer;   
  • Skilled long-term care facilities should be prepared to accept transfers of both COVID positive and COVID negative patients;   
  • Clarified that patients with COVID-19 can be discharged from a healthcare facility whenever clinically indicated; and   
  • Meeting criteria for discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions is not a prerequisite for discharge.