Friday, September 20, 2013
Ooops, you just thought you were admitted
It's called Hospital Observation Care.
More Medicare patients end up with this status each year--1.6 million in 2011.
This happens when you are not well enough to go home, but not sick enough to be admitted. So on a doctor's order, you stay for observation. This can last more than 24 hours.
This is considered an outpatient service--you may get copayments for each doctor fee and each hospital service. Yow!
Also, if you need Medicare coverage for a nursing home, you may not get it if you were in the hospital in this status.
Hospitals like this because if you return within 30 days, they don't get docked--you were never admitted in the first place.
How do you know--in the fog of sickness--where you are on this status--ASK!!! Medicare does not require hospitals to tell you. If you are on Observation Status, the doctor can request in-patient, but the hospital does not have to comply.
Trying to challenge it later is a nightmare. So heads-up.
There are bills in Congress to correct this...There are always bills on everything.