Bipartisan lawmakers revive observation stay legislation pushed by nursing homes

March 15, 2019

Industry advocates are praising proposed legislation that says patients under “observation status” at a hospital would be eligible to satisfy Medicare’s three-day requirement necessary for skilled nursing coverage.

A beneficiary currently must spend a trio of consecutive days for the federal payment program to cover skilled nursing facility care. However, patients are increasingly being held as outpatients, which is leading them to either return home early, or receive astronomical bills for care.

A bipartisan group of legislators have now introduced bills in both the Senate and House and senate to bulldoze this impediment.

“This arbitrary gap in Medicare coverage is a crisis waiting to happen for so many families in eastern Connecticut and across the country,” Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) said in a statement. “Whether a patient is in the hospital for three days as an inpatient, or for three days under ‘observation status’ – three days is three days, and quibbling over semantics should not keep Americans from accessing the care they’ve been prescribed by healthcare professionals, or force them to go into medical debt in order to cover the cost.”