A bill that would make it easier for Medicare beneficiaries who received observational care in a hospital to qualify for Medicare-backed skilled-nursing care was introduced by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and Tom Latham (R-Iowa), according to a news release from the lawmakers.
Bill aims to ease policy on observational care
Current Medicare policy excludes patients' observational time in the hospital from the calculation of the three days of inpatient hospital care necessary to qualify for Medicare skilled-nursing care. The bill, called the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act, would end that exclusion and allow observational care to count.
The bill has the backing of AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Health Care Association, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, the American Medical Directors Association, LeadingAge and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, according to the release.
“There is a growing trend harming seniors who need critical skilled-nursing care following a hospital stay that often leaves them in a no man's land,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA, in an association release. “We applaud (the bill sponsors') efforts ensuring that we can not ask the elderly and frail to pay with his or her health,” Parkinson said.
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