Wednesday, April 15, 2015

AARP Report Released on Observation Stays Issue

Dana Halvorson

On April 14, 2015, AARP’s Public Policy Institute released a new report showing how observation patients can face unexpected, high out-of-pockets costs under Medicare rules compared with people who have been admitted as inpatients. Nearly 2 out of 3 observation patients who needed skilled nursing center care after hospital discharge did not meet Medicare’s 3-day inpatient requirement for coverage, according to the report. AARP’s report, “Observation Status: Financial Implications for Medicare Beneficiaries,” includes that being placed under observation can have significant financial implications for Medicare beneficiaries. Keith Lind, JD, MS, Sr. Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute, and co-author of the report noted that “The Medicare rules should change so patients get the care they need without the unnecessarily high costs.” AARP’s full press release on the report can be found here.  

AHCA/NCAL and AARP are part of the observation stays coalition, which supports the bipartisan Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act (S. 843/H.R. 1571) that would count a patient’s time in observation toward the 3-day hospital inpatient stay requirement for Medicare coverage of skilled nursing center care. More details on the observation stays and 3-day stay issue can be found on the AHCA/NCAL observation stays website.

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