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Observation status would count toward three-day inpatient stay under act

March 31, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Patients’ time under “observation status” would count toward the requisite three-day hospital stay for coverage of skilled nursing care under legislation introduced by four senators.

S. 843, known as the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act, was introduced March 24 by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). The bill would establish a 90-day appeal period following its passage for those that had a qualifying hospital stay and were denied skilled nursing care after Jan. 1, 2015.

“This legislation could improve the lives of millions of seniors who rely on their Medicare coverage to pay for needed nursing care after leaving the hospital,” American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) President and CEO Mark Parkinson said in a statement. Parkinson said the organization looks forward to working with Congress to “continue this positive momentum.”

Brown also sponsored the bill in the previous Senate session, when it was known as S. 569.

LeadingAge and AMDA–The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine also support the reintroduced bill, according to the senators, and it is endorsed by these organizations as well:

  • AARP
  • Association of Jewish Aging Services,
  • Alliance for Retired Americans,
  • American College of Emergency Physicians,
  • Center for Medicare Advocacy,
  • Coalition for Geriatric Nursing Organizations,
  • Jewish Federations of North America,
  • Justice in Aging,
  • Leadership Council of Aging Organizations,
  • Lutheran Services in America,
  • Medicare Rights Center,
  • National Association of Area Agencies on Aging,
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys,
  • National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers,
  • National Association for the Support of Long Term Care,
  • National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program,
  • National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare,
  • Society of Hospital Medication, and
  • Special Needs Alliance.