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Congressmen introduce observation stay legislation

February 12, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35) and Rep. Todd Young (R-IN-9) have reintroduced the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act (H.R. 876), which would require hospitals to give formal notice to a patient within a certain period of time after classifying him or her as an inpatient or as an outpatient under observation.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) applauds the move. “While more needs to be done to make certain our nation’s seniors get the needed Medicare coverage they deserve, this measure is an important step in ensuring that beneficiaries understand what is happening to them,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the organization, said in a statement.

Under the NOTICE Act, hospitals would be required to notify patients entitled to Medicare Part A coverage of their outpatient status within 36 hours after the time of their classification or, if sooner, on discharge.

AHCA/NCAL says it continues to support legislation that would eliminate the three-day stay requirement, which, if passed, would effectively solve the related issue of observation stays. Thus far this Congress, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) has introduced the Creating Access to Rehabilitation for Every Senior (CARES) Act of 2015, which would eliminate the three-day inpatient stay requirement by allowing centers that meet particular criteria to automatically qualify for a waiver of the prior hospitalization requirement.

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