Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NOTICE Act Reintroduced

Dana Halvorson

Today, Congressmen Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35) and Todd Young (R-IN-9) plan to reintroduce the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act HR 876.  The NOTICE Act 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. More specifically, the legislation works to ensure that hospitals notify patients entitled to Medicare part A coverage of their outpatient status within 36 hours after the time of their classification or, if sooner, upon discharge.

Often times, patients have no idea what their status is in a hospital or the importance of it. This can lead to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical expenses should they need skilled nursing center care following their hospital stay. The observation stays issue is a financial burden on seniors and their families. It can cause unnecessary 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. That being said, the association continues to advocate for legislation that would address the observation stays issue once and for all. For more information about observation stays, please visit the AHCA/NCAL website.

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