Rapid Growth in Medicare Hospital Observation Services: What’s Going On?

AARP has released a report titled “Rapid Growth in Medicare Hospital Observation Services: What's Going On?” The report finds dramatic increase in the use of Medicare observation status for Medicare beneficiaries between 2001 and 2009. The findings raise concerns about the clinical benefit of long-term observation and the high out-of-pocket costs to patients. AARP endorses the legislation, Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2013 (H.R. 1179/S. 569), introduced in the House and the Senate by Reps. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Tom Latham (R-IA), and Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), that would count the time spent in observation toward the three-day stay requirement. Read an observation status fact sheet.


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