Phone: (281) 550-3665
Fax: (281) 550-8449
info@cshealthcareservices.com
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Healthcare Office Hours:
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Phone: (281) 550-3665

Care Management Office Hours:
9 AM to 5 PM - Weekdays
Phone: (281) 550-8444
15430 Ridge Park Drive
Houston, Texas 77095 info@cshealthcareservices.com
Fax: (281) 550-8449
What You Need to Know About Observation Status

Did you know that when you or your loved one goes into a Medicare-participating hospital that you may not necessarily be considered an inpatient even though you are in a hospital bed for multiple days, or even weeks, receiving physician and nursing services, tests, medications, food and supplies? Instead you could be considered an outpatient under Observation Services.

Why should you be concerned? The financial implications are a major consequence for Medicare beneficiaries. Observation Services according to the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., impact Medicare beneficiaries because the beneficiary could be denied coverage for a subsequent stay in a skilled nursing facility (nursing home stay for rehabilitation) on the grounds that they have not been an inpatient in the hospital for three or more consecutive days. A three day "inpatient" hospital stay is required before Medicare will pay for care and rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). Additionally, those under observation services may be liable for all hospital services and treatments including medications that are not covered under Medicare Part B.

The use of Observation Services is becoming more extensive by hospitals throughout the country. There is confusion among physicians as to what and how to write clear orders regarding Observation Services. Physicians may be advised to change a patients' status from inpatient to outpatient under certain conditions. Therefore, patients who are in the hospital for more than a few hours should ask their doctor or hospital if they are an inpatient or an outpatient. There have been reports of beneficiaries staying in the hospital for more than 7-14 days and finding out they have been under Observation Services as an outpatient.

Medicare's manuals define Observation Services as "a well defined set of specific, clinically appropriate services, which include ongoing short term treatment, assessment, and reassessment, that are furnished while a decision is being made regarding whether patients will require further treatment as hospital inpatients or if they are able to be discharged from the hospital" and further state that a patient should not remain in observation status for more than 24 or 48 hours.

If you discover that your hospital stay was considered Observation Services rather than inpatient and you believe this is incorrect, you can and should appeal the decision. Read more online at www.medicare.gov or to view the booklet "Your Medicare Rights and Protections" at http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11534.pdf.

Fiscal and physical prevention make sense, so be a savvy consumer by confirming your hospital status early on!

Cindy Hartman, RN, BSN
C&S Care Management, Inc.
chartman@cs-care.com
15430 Ridge Park Drive
Houston, Texas 77095

There are many things to consider when researching the care needs of your loved one. Often it is overwhelming and confusing when exploring available options. A C&S Care Management Aging Life Care Professional can analyze your loved one's situation to determine and explain care options and alternatives which are best suited to meet their specific needs.

C&S Healthcare provides competent caregivers, nursing, therapy and medical social services to clients in their homes, apartments or assisted living community. Keeping your loved one independent and safe is our goal at C&S Healthcare. To contact a C&S representative for more information call 281-550-3665 or 281-550-8444. For easy access you may also complete the contact form on the Contact Us page and an RN Care Manager will respond to your inquiry.




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