Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wall Street Journal Article on Observation Stays

Dana Halvorson

On December 1, 2015, Christopher Weaver, Anna Wilde Mathews, and Tom McGinty, wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Medicare Rules Reshape Hospital Admissions.” The authors noted in the article, “Patients on observation status can remain in the hospital for days, and typically receive care that is indistinguishable from inpatient stays, experts say. But under Medicare billing rules, the stays are considered outpatient visits, and as such, don’t trigger penalties under the health law. The Journal’s analysis of Medicare billing data shows that increases in observation stays can skew the readmission numbers, letting hospitals avoid penalties even if patients continue to have complications and return for repeat visits. Observation stays generally are cheaper for the government, but in some cases they can lead to big bills that are the patient’s responsibility.” Click here to read the full article logged into WSJ.


AHCA/NCAL is part of the observation stays Coalition, which currently consists of 28 national organizations such as AARP, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, and the Catholic Health Association of the United States. The Coalition 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. The updated observation stays Coalition one-pager can be found here. For more information about observation stays and the three-day stay requirement, please visit the AHCA/NCAL website


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