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"Observation" Can Be a Financial Killer

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:01 pm
by editor
If the seniors who are the subject of this article had my book, it would help them a lot.

Warning to Medicare Patients: “Observation” Can be A Financial Killer.

Written by Gary North on June 2, 2014

If you go to a hospital, and you go home, beware: if you go back because of related symptoms, and the hospital puts you under “observation” for one night, you will get billed, not Medicare.

That could be thousands of dollars.

If you go back, ask if they are putting you under observation. Tell them you will not consent to be put under observation. Tell them you want to be admitted as a patient. Get a witness.

What is this all about? A hidden surprise in ObamaCare.

Nationwide, readmissions are dropping because Section 3025 of ObamaCare punishes hospitals if a senior returns within 30 days.

What happens to the senior treated for a heart attack who rushes to the hospital a week later feeling faint, possibly because of arrhythmia?

To dodge the penalty, hospitals put the patient under “observation.” It’s just a word on the chart. The patient may get the same tests and be put in the same room as if he had been admitted.

But unless he stays at least two nights, the hospital won’t bill Medicare for a stay, and the patient gets clobbered with the cost. Many seniors don’t even know they were under observation until they get the bill.

So much for HHS boasting about the drop in readmissions. HHS officials fail to mention that this coincides with a rise in elderly patients placed under “observation status.” It’s a hospital billing trick, and a dirty one for seniors.

Be aware of the games hospitals play . . . at your expense.

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