Per the article about the nuisance Center for Medicare Advocacy lawsuit understandably thrown out by a federal judge, maybe now the press will start explaining the situation correctly. This article did not. It confused two separate issues. They are related but different.
Article confuses SNF issues
First, the issue is not making it “easier for more Medicare patients to get post-hospitalization skilled-nursing (SNF) care paid for by Medicare.” The need is to get such SNF care—if required—even without going to a hospital. And definitely without having to be a hospital inpatient for three nights (or two nights which appears to be the latest rule). If a doctor—even if in his or her office—says you need SNF care rather than acute care, it is crazy to have this interim step.
Second, the article says, “Federal data show that hospitals have been placing a growing proportion of Medicare patients on observation care rather than full-fledged inpatient admissions in recent years ...” This has nothing directly to do with SNF care. This is about hospital finances and re-admission penalties, and Part A vs. Part B reimbursement rates, and similar issues. It matters little to the Medicare beneficiary at all. Most often (96% of the time), it is more beneficial to be observed than admitted.
Dennis ByronDennis, Mass.
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