Observation Status: Congress Passes Bill Requiring Patient Notification

August 5, 2015 | Strategic Insights for Health System


The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would require hospitals and critical access hospitals to notify Medicare beneficiaries, in writing and by oral explanation, of their outpatient observation status when they receive more than 24 hours of such services. The Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act would require the written notification to explain the patient's status as an outpatient rather than an inpatient, the reasons for the outpatient status designation, implications regarding the services provided (particularly cost sharing and eligibility for skilled nursing facility coverage under Medicare), and other relevant information. The notification must be written and formatted in plain language and available in appropriate languages.

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