Observation stay bills in focus for LTC providers

Share this article:

Nonprofit long-term care providers continued to focus on bills related to observation stays during visits on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Providers were encouraged to drum up support and co-sponsors for the bills in question, HR 1179 and SB 569, which would count all the time a Medicare beneficiary spends in the hospital toward meeting the 3-day inpatient requirement for subsequent skilled nursing care. Currently, many seniors are placed in observation status, sometimes for many days, and this does not count toward the inpatient requirement.

“The Senate bill and the House bill give transparency and say if there is a head in a bed that counts,” said Cheryl Phillips, M.D., senior vice president of advocacy at LeadingAge. She spoke during the morning's briefing with hundreds of providers in Washington, D.C. for the LeadingAge Peak event.

Phillips noted that there have been numerous observation stay bills recently, including one to completely eliminate the 3-day inpatient requirement. Phillips and LeadingAge President and CEO Larry Minnix encouraged members to stay focused on the plan that is most practical.

“This is a no-brainer to fix,” Minnix told McKnight's. “It benefits consumers and providers, and it's [currently] a screwy policy. Let's fix it now.”

While some have argued that CMS's recently enacted two-midnight rule should fix much of the problem for seniors, providers counter that it doesn't help those who are in the hospital for fewer than two midnights and may face huge costs when they discover they are ineligible for skilled nursing care.

“It's a very important issue for us, and it gets into the weeds very quickly,” noted Michele Kent, LeadingAge New Jersey president and CEO. “Seniors often think that because they are in the hospital, they're covered. It's complicated.”

Other talking points during Hill visits included repealing therapy caps, affordable housing, the "doc fix" and no more across-the-board reimbursement cuts.

Share this article:

More in News

Large hepatitis outbreak reaches 47 cases, podiatry company denies ManorCare's charges

The number of people infected in an infamous North Dakota Hepatitis C outbreak has risen, state health officials say.

National Quality Forum supports quality measures in bill to standardize post-acute assessments

National Quality Forum supports quality measures in bill ...

The National Quality Forum has come out in strong support of a proposed standardized quality measures, such as skin integrity, across different types of post-acute care settings. Uniform assessments are ...

CMS changes mind on hospice drugs

The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services has revised guidance on authorization of hospice drugs for those under Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, according to a new memo.