July 29th, 2015
by Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but have not been admitted to the hospital. It’s a distinction that’s easy to miss until patients are hit with big medical bills after a short stay.
The vote follows overwhelming approval in the U. S. House of Representatives in March. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, said its House sponsor, Texas Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett.
observation care 570It’s called the NOTICE Act, short for “Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility.” The law would require hospitals to provide written notification to patients 24 hours after receiving observation care, explaining that they have not been admitted to the hospital, the reasons why, and the potential financial implications.