Close the Medicare Observation Status Gap!
Under Medicare law, patients must have an inpatient stay in a hospital spanning at least 3 days in order for Medicare to cover a subsequent rehab stay in a Skilled Nursing Facility. However, outpatients, or those under "observation," receive the exact same care as their inpatient counterparts. They receive medical and nursing care, diagnostic tests, treatments, medications, and food, similar to the level of care for inpatients; and often also experience extended stays of 3+ days in hospital beds. In fact, in 2016, the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that Medicare beneficiaries experienced 633,148 outpatient hospital stays that lasted longer than 72 hours. Problematically, Medicare would not cover follow-on rehabilitation services provided by a Skilled Nursing Facility for those long term "observation" patients, even though the care received by patients under "observation" is medically necessary.
This “observation” status gap is unsustainable and unaffordable for seniors. An average stay at a Skilled Nursing Facility costs more than $10,000, which is more than most Medicare beneficiaries can afford.
Together, we can fill this gap!
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