News Headlines Article

Progress For Bill To Bolster Medicare Patients’ Hospital Rights
National Public Radio

The Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but haven’t been admitted to the hospital as inpatients.

The distinction is easy for patients to miss — until they get hit with big medical bills after a short stay.

Hospitals are placing many older patients on observation status. They may be there for days, but technically they’re still outpatients. One reason for the practice is it lowers the risk that a hospital will have to repay the government if an auditor decides afterward that someone should have been treated as an outpatient rather than an inpatient.