The difference between outpatient observation and inpatient admission has typically been confusing to older hospitalized patients – especially since Medicare only covers portions of outpatient observation stays. In the past, facilities may have given patients quick explanations of the differences, but soon, they’ll be required to do much more.
Last year, President Obama signed the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act (or the NOTICE Act). The new law, which goes into effect Aug. 6, requires hospitals to give patients specific details about their observation status and educate them about what services are usually covered by Medicare.
Under the NOTICE Act, every patient who receives observation services as an outpatient for more than 24 hours must receive an official Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice (MOON). The MOON is a standardized form created by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
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