Senators Plan Reforms to Medicare's Observation Status

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) plan to launch the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act, which would change how Medicare covers observation stays and long-term rehab.

Under current rules, Medicare will cover a beneficiary's post-acute care in a skilled nursing home only if the beneficiary is an inpatient for three straight days at a hospital. Hospitals have been placing more patients under observation status to avoid audits from the government, which has aimed for lower Medicare costs.

Under the proposed legislation, observation stays would count toward the three-day Medicare coverage minimum, in addition to inpatient stays.

More Articles on Hospitals and Medicare Observation:
16 Hospitals the OIG Has Tagged for Medicare Overpayments So Far in 2013
AHA Advocates for 3 Changes to RAC Program
4 Areas Where Better Documentation Can Improve Hospital Revenue

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