Corporate Compliance

Are hospitals improperly converting inpatient cases to observation?

Medicare Insider, October 28, 2008

It was recently brought to my attention that some (perhaps many) hospitals may be using the condition code 44 process to retroactively convert inpatient cases to observation. The condition code 44 process is designed to allow a hospital to retroactively convert a case from inpatient to outpatient status under certain conditions. However, the fact that CMS permits a case to be converted to outpatient status does not necessarily mean that the hospital may treat the patient as having been in observation from the time of initial admission.

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