Noteworthy News

“Two-Midnight Rule” Put on Hold

Medicare has delayed implementation of its most recent attempt to help providers determine whether to bill the federal government for inpatient or observation care for hospitalized patients.

Under the new rule, which was to have taken effect on October 1, patients who were expected to remain in the hospital for at least two midnights were to be considered admissions while those expected to stay for less time were to be classified as observation patients.

WheelchairThe rule was issued in an attempt to clarify a situation that had been scrutinized based on less objective measures, often leaving hospitals feeling under-reimbursed for their services and seniors angry because Medicare would not cover some of their post-discharge care.

But advocates for patients complained that the new rule still leaves seniors too vulnerable to unexpected health care costs and hospitals maintain the rule is confusing.

Consequently, while the rule officially takes effect on October 1, Medicare has indicated that it will not enforce it at least until next year.

To learn more about the issue and this temporary measure, see this Kaiser Health News report.

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