Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New Federal Law, Hospitals Now Must Tell Medicare Patients When Care Is ‘Observation’ Only

Dana Halvorson

According to a March 13, 2017, article from Kaiser Health News, written by Susan Jaffe, “hospitals across the country must now alert Medicare patients when they are getting observation care and why they were not admitted — even if they stay in the hospital a few nights. For years, seniors often found out only when they got surprise bills for the services Medicare doesn’t cover for observation patients, including some drugs and expensive nursing home care. The notice may cushion the shock but probably not settle the issue.” You can read the full article here.

As you may know, the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act (NOTICE Act) was enacted on August 6, 2015. The NOTICE Act requires all hospitals and critical access hospitals to provide written and oral notification under specified guidelines to beneficiaries that they are an outpatient receiving observation services and are not an inpatient by no later than March 8, 2017. AHCA/NCAL believes the NOTICE Act law is an important step forward. To learn more about the NOTICE Act and the observation stays issue, please visit the AHCA/NCAL website.

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