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Hospitals required to tell patients of observation care status

 HARTFORD, Conn. – Starting Wednesday, a new state law requires Connecticut hospitals to tell all patients when they are being kept in the hospital for observation instead of being admitted and to warn them about the financial consequences.

Anyone who goes to the hospital can be placed on observation status, so that doctors can determine what’s wrong, and decide whether the patient is sick enough to be admitted or well enough to go home. Observation patients may receive diagnostic tests, medications, some treatment, and other outpatient services. Depending on their insurance, they can be charged a share of the cost.

“They are in a regular hospital bed in a hospital room, getting a hospital level of care, and they have no way of knowing they were not admitted,” said Rep. Susan Johnson, a sponsor of the legislation and co-chair of the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee.

In addition to hospital bills, Medicare observation patients whose doctors order follow-up nursing home care will have to pay the nursing home themselves. Medicare covers nursing homes only after seniors are admitted to the hospital and stay through three consecutive midnights. A month in a Connecticut nursing home can cost as much as $15,000.

See the complete story at Connecticut Health I-Team

 

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One response to “Hospitals required to tell patients of observation care status”

  1. Sara Sikes

    This is excellent but the state could do far more to protect us from going bankrupt from rip-offs by hospitals and physicians. Maryland is the only state that still regulates prices for medical care, and costs are thus lower than other states. We need to urge our representatives to pass comprehensive legislation regulating these costs. Just insisting on transparency in pricing would be a great start.

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