What the NOTICE Act means for healthcare organizations

From Becker’s:

Starting August 2016, the NOTICE Act will require hospitals nationwide to inform patients of their inpatient or observation status. (Five states — New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia — already require similar disclosures.)

Medicare beneficiaries in the hospital for more than 24 hours must be informed in writing of their status within 36 hours of when they begin receiving medical services as an outpatient. The written notice must clearly explain:

  • that the individual is not an inpatient;
  • the reasons for the person’s observation status; and
  • the implications in terms of increased financial responsibility and lack of eligibility for coverage in a SNF after discharge.

The patient or their representative must sign the notice to acknowledge their understanding.

Hospitals and health systems will be better prepared to comply with the NOTICE Act if they start now to:

  • analyze and update observation programs as appropriate;
  • provide additional patient education about observation status;
  • expand the role of case managers; and
  • deploy follow-up tools as a “safety net” for those patients who are not admitted.

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