Support Observation Status Legislation

June 1, 2018
Policy Snapshot

Congressmen Joe Courtney (D-CT), Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-PA) and Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) have co-sponsored legislation to fix an arbitrary Medicare policy that excludes coverage of skilled nursing care. Under current Medicare policy, a beneficiary must have an “inpatient” hospital stay of at least three days for Medicare to cover skilled nursing care. Patients who receive hospital care on “observation status” do not qualify for this benefit, even if their hospital stay lasts longer than three days. These patients are either forced to return home without the treatment their care team has suggested, or as often happens, are billed astronomical amounts after their stays in a skilled nursing facilities (SNF).

The Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2017 (HR 1421 & S. 568) would allow for the time patients spend in the hospital under “observation status” to count toward the requisite three-day hospital stay for coverage of skilled nursing care.

Click here to ask your legislators to support the bill.