'Observation Status' Patients Cost More Than Those Admitted, Study Finds

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"Observation status" patients cost hospitals more money than admitted inpatients, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Data from the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison show observation care resulted in an average loss of $331 per patient, while inpatient care resulted in an average profit of $2,163 per patient.

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Researchers also noted the characteristics of observation status patients significantly differed from the CMS' definition of observation status patients. CMS defines observation care as "a well-defined set of specific, clinically appropriate services" that usually lasts less than 24 hours. The data show there were 1,141 different diagnoses, and the average length of stay was 33.3 hours.

The researchers question the role observation care status will play throughout healthcare reform.

More Articles on Observation Status:

Study: Hospital Observation Doubled Between 2001 and 2009

Medicare Patients' Suit Over Observation Status Dismissed

HHS Rule on Observation Status Falls Short, Says Advocacy Group

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