Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NOTICE Act on Markup Calendar in Ways and Means Committee

The House Ways and Means Committee announced Tuesday that H.R.876, the NOTICE Act, will be sent to committee for marking up on Thursday, February 26th.

The Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act, sponsored by Congressmen Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35) and Todd Young (R-IN-9), requires hospitals to give formal notice to patients within a period of time after classifying them as an inpatient or as an outpatient under observation.

The legislation was reintroduced February 11th of this year after gaining support in the House last year. The committee markup stage of legislative drafting will allow the full Ways and Means committee to debate, amend, or rewrite the Act, if desired.

Often times, patients have no idea what their status is in a hospital or the importance of it, as hospitals are not currently required by federal law to inform beneficiaries of in- or outpatient status.  Outpatient observation stays do not qualify beneficiaries for Medicare coverage of skilled nursing after time in the hospital. Observation status can cause rapid spend-down, accelerating the time frame in which seniors will have to turn to programs such as Medicaid to pay for their care.

AHCA/NCAL supports the NOTICE Act as it is an important step in ensuring that beneficiaries understand what is happening to them.

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