Tuesday, May 19, 2015

U.S. Senate Aging Committee Holds Observation Stays Hearing Today

Dana Halvorson

The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging is holding an observation stays focused hearing this afternoon at 2:15pm ET entitled, “Challenging the Status Quo: Solutions to the Hospital Observation Stay Crisis.” Often, patients remain under ‘‘observation status’’ in the hospital for several days. These days are not counted toward the three-day inpatient hospital requirement for coverage of skilled nursing care services under Medicare because they are considered outpatient. Increasingly, patients have no idea what their status is in a hospital, or the importance of it, which can lead to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical expenses should they need skilled nursing center care following their hospital stay. In addition to placing a financial burden on seniors and their families, this anomaly in Medicare rules 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.

More details about the hearing, including the witness list, can be found on the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging website. For more information about observation stays and the three-day stay requirement, visit the AHCA/NCAL website.

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