Hospitals have been treating patients in house, but not admitting them. These patients are characterized as “observation status”. This means you could be liable for exhaustive medical bills from the hospital because Medicare will not pay. This status may have a similar effect if you are then admitted to a nursing home. In order for Medicare to pay nursing home charges, you must first be admitted to the hospital and not just on “observation status”. The hospital may use this status to improve their readmission rates with Medicare or avoid Medicare deemed “inappropriate admissions” and you will pay the bill.
Outrageous you say! You’d be right!
Help has arrived in the form of a new law that requires hospitals to advise patients they are classified as “observation status”. This will allow the patient or their guardian/responsible person to seek help from the patients physician to formally admit the patient in order that Medicare will respond for the hospital and any subsequent nursing home care.
Best advice….read all those forms you’re required to sign.