OBSERVATION STATUS NOTICE BILL HEADS TO PRESIDENT'S DESK

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By Jason Marx

Legislation that will require hospitals to notify patients of their status as outpatients has passed Congress and should be signed into law by the President. Outpatient status limits the patient’s ability to receive Medicare coverage for care in a skilled nursing facility after discharge from the hospital.

H.R. 876 Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act passed the U.S. Senate on July 27, 2015. Since the Senate passed the same version of the bill as previously passed by the House, the legislation will now go directly to President Obama for signature.

The law will apply in situations where a patient is receiving services as an outpatient for more than 24 hours. It will require hospitals to notify those patients of their outpatient status within 36 hours, or, upon discharge if that occurs sooner.  The law will become effective one year after the President signs it.