Feds Issue Medicare Observation Stay Language

Interested parties had until September 1 to submit comments on draft language developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) explaining “observation status” coverage issues to Medicare beneficiaries. Under a law passed last year, CMS is obliged to provide written notices to beneficiaries explaining the implications of hospital-based observation stays longer than 24 hours. These stays are reimbursed under Medicare Part B not Part A, and, as such, require additional co-pays by beneficiaries. In addition, observation stays don’t count toward the three-day inpatient stay requirement necessary to obtain Medicare-covered skilled nursing facility services following a hospital stay. For more information, visit www.cms.gov.