Long-Term Care

Keep an eye on hospital observation stays

Briefings on Long-Term Care, December 1, 2009

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Observation stays are not classified as inpatient care. Individuals who remain in the hospital strictly under physician observation have not been admitted and therefore do not meet the technical requirement mandating a three-consecutive night admission to an acute care hospital for Medicare Part A SNF benefits.
CMS’ data suggests that very few physicians are observing individuals longer than the suggested 48-hour maximum, but many in the field say they have witnessed observation stays as long as two weeks.

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