As I write this, 2 friends have elderly parents in the hospital. As well, another friend just lost her mother-in-law and another lost her father (who was also a good friend) – both, after in and out hospital stays. My friend, Judy (who has commented on this blog several times) has been visiting her mother who was in the hospital and is now in rehab after a fall and is preparing for her eventual return home.
Last week, I read an extremely disturbing article from CT Watchdog (www.ctwatchdog.com) regarding Medicare, hospital stays and step-down care (short-term nursing home rehab and homecare). You can (and should) read the entire May 3rd article at: http://ctwatchdog.com/health/ct-seniors-sue-medicare-to-close-nursing-home-coverage-gap
Basically, it states that hospitals can apply an ‘observation’ status rather than an ‘inpatient’ status to a hospital stay. It is unclear what determines this ranking, but it is a critical distinction with regard to aftercare and associated costs.
If your loved one’s condition is designated ‘observation’, Medicare still pays a portion of the hospital charges, but will not cover after-care (regardless if your stay was 3 nights or more…the previous criteria). My understanding was Medicare would pay for after-care (up to a certain limit) as long as you were in the hospital at least 3 overnights.
Again, it is unclear how or why an ‘observation’ label may be applied, but it is a distinction you need to question and understand, as more seniors are falling into this observation hole. As if it wasn’t already difficult…Be well!
<< Hospitals are not required to tell patients when they are in observation and that they may face extra costs, Medicare officials have said. And all too often, observation services are hard to distinguish from inpatient care, said Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney at the advocacy center. >>