Medicare Testing Payment Options That Could End Observation Status

Medicare officials have allowed patients at dozens of hospitals participating in pilot projects across the country to be exempted from the controversial requirement that limits nursing home coverage to seniors admitted to a hospital for at least three days. The idea behind these experiments is to find out whether new payment arrangements with the hospitals and other health care providers that drop the three-day rule can reduce costs or keep them the same while improving the quality of care. They are conducted under a provision of the Affordable Care Act that created the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations to develop ways of improving Medicare. If the experiment saves Medicare money and improves care, “we should be able to make an argument to Medicare that there is a way to do it for all our patients,” said Dr. Eric Weil, Clinical Affairs Associate Chief for the general internal medicine division at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The hospital is one of five in the Partners Health System that began offering the waiver in April, after testing a limited version.

Source/more: Kaiser Health News/Washington Post 

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