This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Hospitalized Seniors Should Watch Out if They're Under Observation

By S.Z. Berg

NEW YORK ( MainStreet)--An increasing number of hospitalized patients age 65 and over are being classified as outpatients under observation rather than as admitted.
[Read: <a target="blank" data-add-tracking="true" href="http://www.mainstreet.com/article/career/employment/top-industries-begging-hire-you-right-now"><em>Top Industries Begging to Hire You Right Now</em></a>]

"When hospitals classify people as 'outpatients,' on observation status, rather than as admitted inpatients, those patients cannot obtain Medicare nursing home coverage and may also have hospital bills they would not have if properly considered inpatients," says Judith Stein, executive director of Center for Medicare Advocacy.

Medicare will only cover the cost of nursing home care when a patient has been hospitalized as an inpatient for three consecutive days. In these cases, Medicare will foot the entire bill for the first 20 days in an approved facility. Patients who have been classified as outpatients will have to pay the entire tab.

In addition, Medicare patients who have been relegated to observation status may be responsible for paying cost sharing and the unreimbursed cost of prescription drugs under Medicare Part B that under inpatient status would have been paid for by Medicare Part A.

In June 2012, a study was published in the journal Health Affairs showing that there has been a sharp rise in the number of Medicare patients held in the hospital under observation. This finding was accompanied by a downward shift in patient admissions into the hospital. The Brown University researchers reported that the ratio of patients placed in observation to patients admitted into the hospital increased 34% between 2007 and 2009 and that outpatient observation hospitalizations grew 7% longer, on average, over the study period.

For their part, patients can't tell the difference between whether or not they've been admitted into the hospital or are classified as under observation as an outpatient. They lie in the same beds, wear the same gowns, eat the same hospital food, receive the same nursing care and wear the same ID bracelets.
[Read: <a target="blank" data-add-tracking="true" href="http://www.mainstreet.com/article/lifestyle/food-drink/throw-your-perfect-party-without-making-guests-do-all-work"><em>Throw Your Perfect Party Without Making Guests Do All the Work</em></a>]

The Brown University researchers, led by Zhanlian Feng, assistant professor of health services, policy and practice, noted that there was a lead up to a shift in Medicare costs to patients and hospitals, most recently through the Affordable Care Act, which includes a provision that penalizes hospitals for high readmission rates. Hospitals are able to avoid readmitting patients and dodge the associated penalty by classifying patients as outpatients, either on their initial or second visit.
1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $126.44 0.00%
FB $87.28 0.00%
GOOG $523.40 0.00%
TSLA $280.02 0.00%
YHOO $39.38 0.00%

Markets

DOW 17,730.11 -27.80 -0.16%
S&P 500 2,076.78 -0.64 -0.03%
NASDAQ 5,009.2140 -3.9090 -0.08%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs