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Saturday, August 15, 2015

New Law Protects Hospital Patient Finances

The Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act became law when it was signed by President Obama earlier this month. 

The law, which does not go into effect until Aug. 6, 2016, helps prevent patients from having to pay for a nursing home stay because they were classified as outpatients during their stay in a hospital. The law is designed to prevent Medicare beneficiaries from spending days in a hospital under an outpatient status, only to discover at discharge that because they were never admitted, any follow-up stay in a nursing home is not covered under Medicare.

The new law requires that hospitals inform patients under observation or outpatient status for more than 24 hours be informed of that within 36 hours. While that does not totally solve the problem, it does let patients know of the situation so, if they anticipate a nursing home stay, they can talk to the hospital about their status. The text of the law can be seen here.


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