Up Close With ... Joe DeMattos, President & CEO, Health Facilities Association of Maryland

You may not know the Health Facilities Association of Maryland (HFAM) by name, but if you have older loved ones who have received care from one of Maryland's many skilled nursing and rehab facilities then you have benefited from their work. Up Close sat down with Joe DeMattos, president and CEO, to discuss HFAM's impact on Maryland's healthcare system.

Q. Tell us about the history of HFAM and about your Impact.


A. HFAM is the oldest, largest nationally affiliated healthcare association in Maryland, representing what we grew up calling nursing homes. We represent the majority of skilled nursing and rehab centers in Maryland as well as about 25 assisted living communities and 100 associate businesses.

Q. Healthcare is a volatile topic, particularly today, when healthcare seems to be a constant topic in the news. What are HFAM's priorities for the next couple years and what challenges do you believe will need to be addressed. 


A. There are some drivers in this country that just won't disappear. We find ourselves at a time in our history when 10,000 boomers will turn 65 every single day into the foreseeable future, over the next 10 years or so. We spend twice as much on healthcare as any industrialized nation in the world, yet we often don't have the same outcomes.

In Maryland, we have incredible healthcare facilities, but with that comes its own set of challenges. Going forward, there has to be change. Because they have a longer history in providing quality care for folks that face many healthcare challenges, skilled nursing and rehab centers can be the model for providing care. Integrating skilled nursing and rehab centers with our hospital systems will lead to better quality care and help us overcome some of the shortcomings of our current healthcare system.

Q. What are the main things Maryland families who are considering long term care should know about SNFs?

A. There are three main things: first, they should recognize the reality that they need to have that discussion now. Whether it's boomers to greatest generation parents right now or millennials with boomer parents, you've got to have the conversation.

The second point is realizing that the reality is that if you're a boomer, you're probably going to have a healthcare touch with a skilled nursing and rehab center.

Finally, a lot of folks don't realize that Medicare doesn't cover long term care. Medicare covers up to 100 days for a post-acute stay after a three-day hospital stay. So, after you're in the hospital for three days for whatever reason, you can transfer to the skilled nursing center and get stronger before you go home. But as you get older and need more help, and you look at options, the government isn't paying for those options. You can quality for Medicaid, but that may not be your best option. Imagine and write out your best future and then know the circumstances with regard to issues and payment going forward.

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