Requires general hospitals to provide notice to patients placed in observation services and explain the implications thereof.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to patient notice of the provision of observation services
PURPOSE: Requiring general hospitals to provide notice to patients placed in observation services and explain the implications thereof
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one amends the Public Health Law by adding a new section, 2805-v. Subdivision one requires every general hospital to provide patients placed into observation services with verbal and written notice within 24 hours of such placement explaining that the patient is under observation status and has not been admitted to the hospital. The signature of the patient or their legal representative must be obtained to acknowledge receipt. The notice must include: when the observation services began, how observation status may affect the patient's Medicare, Medicaid, and/or private insurance coverage for the current hospital services, and contact information for further understanding. Subdivision two provides that the commissioner shall develop and make available a standard notice form within 30 days of the effective date to be used by all general hospitals after that date.
Section two provides that the act shall take effect immediately.
JUSTIFICATION: A little known change at the federal level is having a large impact on hospitals and, in turn, their patients. Patients who think they have been "admitted" to the hospital, are finding out after the fact that they were being "observed" instead. This difference in status comes despite the fact that they have likely been moved from the emergency room to a bed in the hospital just like an admitted patient. Unfortunately, the consequences for Medicare patients are particularly severe as Medicare reimburses differently for outpatient (i.e. hospital observation services). Additionally, the time a patient spends in a hospital under observation status does not qualify them for skilled nursing facility care they may require to rehabilitate. This bill requires that patients be notified verbally and in writing if they are placed in observation status and requires the Department of Health to establish a standard notification form.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun requiring hospitals to make a distinction between admitting a patient and observing a patient to further evaluate the patient's condition and need for an admission Hospitals are being audited to enforce these provisions and where CMS decides that someone should have been in "observation" status they are disallowing any Medicare payment to the hospitals Since these audits have begun, reports have shown a national increase in the number of patients that hospitals are placing under observation care However, when a physician orders that a patient receive observation care, the patient's status is that of an outpatient and they lose important Medicare benefits.
As an outpatient, Medicare coverage comes under Part B (doctors' services and outpatient care) rather than under Part A (hospital
insurance) as it would for an admitted patient This results in some patients paying more out of pocket due to higher co-payments for in-hospital services, especially if they need prescriptions drugs that, in this situation would be covered under Part A and not under Part B Additionally, under Medicare rules, patients qualify for full coverage of the first 20 days of post-hospital rehab care in an approved skilled nursing facility only after having spent three full days in the hospital as an admitted patient. Thus, a patient who has been under observation services (for all or part of that time) would be responsible for the cost of the nursing facility care subsequent to the patient's time in observation.
Patients are often not notified of their status and do not realize the difference in out of pocket expense until it comes time to pay for the services. This bill will ensure that patients are notified when they are placed in observation status. of the differences that accompany their status as a patient receiving observation services as opposed to an admitted patient.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3926 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 27, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. HANNON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to patient notice of the provision of observation services THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The public health law is amended by adding a new section 2805-v to read as follows: S 2805-V. PATIENT NOTICE OF OBSERVATION SERVICES. 1. EVERY GENERAL HOSPITAL SHALL PROVIDE PATIENTS WHO ARE PLACED INTO OBSERVATION SERVICES WITH A VERBAL AND WRITTEN NOTICE WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS OF SUCH PLACE- MENT THAT THE PATIENT IS NOT ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL AND IS UNDER OBSERVATION STATUS. SUCH NOTICE SHALL BE SIGNED BY THE PATIENT OR THEIR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT AND SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, INFORMATION AND AN EXPLANATION OF: (A) WHEN THE OBSERVATION SERVICES BEGAN; (B) HOW OBSERVATION STATUS MAY AFFECT THE PATIENT'S MEDICARE, MEDICAID AND/OR PRIVATE INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR THE CURRENT HOSPITAL SERVICES, INCLUDING MEDICATIONS AND OTHER PHARMACEUTICAL SUPPLIES, AS WELL AS COVERAGE FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT DISCHARGE TO A SKILLED NURSING FACILITY; AND (C) WHO THE PATIENT CAN CONTACT TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE IMPLICATIONS OF BEING PLACED IN OBSERVATION STATUS. 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL DEVELOP AND MAKE AVAILABLE A STANDARD NOTICE FORM AS DESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION TO BE USED BY ALL GENERAL HOSPITALS AND SIGNED BY PATIENTS PLACED IN OBSERVATION STATUS AFTER THAT DATE. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD05275-01-3