Several months ago, I was admitted to a local hospital. I had been (I thought) an inpatient for 4 days before my doctor scheduled a surgery. Imagine my surprise when someone from the business office came into my room with admission papers. I have been aware of the ‘observation’ issue for years but I was never told I was being admitted only for observation. When I complained, I was told – again by the hospital’s business office, ‘This is what Medicare wants us to do’. Can this be true? I contacted Medicare and was told that 36 hours (not 4 days) was the maximum guideline for observation. The hospital rate for being ‘observed’ was much higher than the rate following my surgery, so I doubt medicare is the culprit here. I know this issue was addressed by several congressional bills, all of which died without being enacted. Is there any relief on the horizon to stop this practice?
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