Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Observation Status Notice State Laws

Dana Halvorson 

Earlier this month, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy signed into law a bill, HB 5535, which requires hospitals to tell patients whether their stay is classified as “observation status” or as traditional inpatient. Without receiving this notification, many patients have been surprised to learn of the high out-of-pocket fees that they have to pay but thought would be covered. More details about the new Connecticut law can be found in this AARP article.

Similar laws already exist in the states of Maryland and New York. As noted in previous editions of Capitol Connection, AHCA/NCAL has been advocating on the Hill on the observation status issue. AHCA/NCAL continues its support and advocacy for legislation, The Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2013 (S. 569/H.R. 1179), introduced by Reps. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Tom Latham (R-IA), along with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), which seeks to count all hospital days spent in observation towards the three-day stay requirement. Currently, S. 569 has 25 bipartisan cosponsors, while H.R. 1179 currently has 152 bipartisan cosponsors.

 AHCA/NCAL also continues its work as part of the Observation Stays Coalition, which now consists of 30 organizations advocating for this important legislation. For more information about observation stays, please visit the AHCA/NCAL website.

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