Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Florida Passes Hospital Notification Bill

Dana Halvorson

According to a June 11, 2015, article in CBS Miami, Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed a measure in which hospitals will be required to provide notice in discharge papers to patients who are in “observation status.” The article notes the praise for the bill from the Florida Health Care Association.

Currently, “observation status” in a hospital does not count toward satisfying the three-day inpatient hospital requirement for coverage of skilled nursing care services under Medicare. Often, patients remain under ‘‘observation status’’ in the hospital for several days. These days are not counted toward the three-day inpatient stay requirement 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. 

For more information about observation stays and the three-day stay requirement, visit the AHCA/NCAL website.

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