New legislation introduced to count observation stays toward Medicare inpatient requirements

Senator Schumer (D-NY) announced on Feb. 20 his intent to introduce legislation to require Medicare to count hospital observation stays towards the three-day mandatory inpatient stay required for post-acute skilled nursing care.  Currently, Medicare only covers care if the patient is moved from three days of inpatient care at a hospital to the nursing facility.  Former Senator Kerry (D-MA) had filed similar legislation in 2011 but it died in committee.  Hospitals have been more and more frequently using observation status and the impact to the consumer is that once sent from the hospital to the skilled nursing facility, the cost of care is directly on the consumer at a rate of hundreds of dollars a day.  Here’s a story and another from AgingOptions that covers observation status and its consequences for older consumers.