Washington, DC – The complex, yet very real, problem of observation
stays continues to garner national attention from the American public. It its
January 9 broadcast, NBC Nightly News aired a segment covering the Medicare
issue. The piece, titled “The
Two Words that Cost Medicare Patients Thousands,” warned of the financial
implications for Medicare beneficiaries when a hospital stay is classified as
segment began with a cautionary statement for Medicare recipients: “[NBC
Nightly News] is back with this new warning for everyone on Medicare.
Specifically, it is about the words that appear on hospital forms and small
differences in the fine print that could mean thousands of dollars in payments
down the line.”
news story comes on the heels of a recent opinion-editorial piece in The Hill,
“Don’t Deny Seniors Nursing Care,” penned by
AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson on behalf of the observation stays
pieces address the observation stay “loophole:” Acute care hospitals are
increasingly classifying patients as receiving care referred to as observation
services, which keeps them in an “outpatient” status, rather than admitting
them as inpatients. Patients under observation are considered outpatients
despite the fact that they may stay in a hospital bed for many days and nights
receiving the same medical care that is provided to inpatients. Before Medicare
will pay for skilled nursing care, a patient must first spend three days in an
inpatient hospital stay. Time spent under observation in a hospital currently
does not count toward that three-day minimum.
long last it seems that this complex issue is getting attention outside of the
DC political sphere,” said Parkinson. “We will not tire of educating the public
and policymakers on an issue that can impact beneficiaries everywhere.”
more information about observation stays and the three-day stay requirement,
visit the AHCA/NCAL website.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 11,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahca.org or www.ncal.org.