Seniors face an unexpected healthcare broadside: charges for “observation care.” According to a May 21 report in Human Events, older Americans are finding their healthcare skimped on.
Earlier in May, the Obama White House bragged that the Affordable Care Act was increasing care quality for seniors. Nationally, hospital readmission rates are declining because Section 3025 of the ACA penalizes hospitals if a senior is re-admitted within 30 days.
When a senior previously was treated by a hospital and returns (after only a few days) to that hospital, the facility found a way to avoid the penalty. Hospitals simply put the patient under observation. Just a word on a chart? Yes, but a powerful one. Unless the patient is there at least two nights, “The hospital won’t bill Medicare for a stay and the patients gets clobbered with the cost. Many seniors don’t even know they were under observation until they get the bill,” says Human Events.
Also, according to the Human Events report, “The Obama Administration plans to expand the readmissions penalties in 2015 to apply to many more conditions.”