Monday, November 17, 2014

November Journal of the American Medical Association Article on Observation Status

Dana Halvorson 

The November 19, 2014, Vol 312, No. 19 edition of the JAMA Forum includes an article by Diana Mason, PhD, RN, entitled The Unintended Consequences of the “Observation Status” Policy. The article focuses on the unintended consequences of the observation status policy for patients without Medicare Part B coverage, the hospital, and for skilled nursing care, and highlights 4 possible improvements to address the issue.

Mason notes that “whether through legislation or rule-making or actions by hospitals, it’s time to clean up the unintended consequences of this policy.” Hospital stays classified as observation, no matter how long and no matter the type or number of services provided, are considered outpatient. These hospital stays do not qualify patients for Medicare-covered care in a skilled nursing center. For more information about observation stays, please visit the AHCA/NCAL website.

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