This information could be the best holiday gift you can give your clients.
Here’s why: If your clients are on Medicare, this advice could save them thousands of dollars.
I wrote the first draft of this article from my mother’s hospital room in Sarasota.
My mother, who is 98, was taken by ambulance to the emergency room because she was having trouble breathing.
In a previous article, I explained how the new changes in Medicare affect long-term care, and, specifically, the situation of admitted versus observation status.
Here’s what I wrote: If you go to a hospital emergency room, and if it is determined that you need care and if you are moved to a hospital room . . .
You must ask this question about your status: Am I admitted or am I here for observation?
If you are classified as being there for observation, and then need to go to a nursing home, Medicare will not pay.
You must be admitted to the hospital for at least three days. True story: A woman was in the hospital for 10 days but was never “admitted.”
I had no idea that I was going to personally encounter this situation so quickly.
Here is the sequence of events.
My mother, Maxine, arrives in the emergency room with congestive heart failure. She is put on oxygen.
Several hours later, we are told that she will be moved to a hospital room. I then ask, “What is her status: admitted or observation?” The nurse says she will find out.
Next, Betty, a hospital employee, arrives holding a clipboard with several papers for my mother to sign. She explains they are all routine forms.
- The first paper is about authorizing Medicare to pay the hospital bill.
- The second paper — and this is done very smoothly — states that my mother understands she will be in the hospital on observation status for 24 hours.
As my mother is handed the paper to sign, I shout, “Mom, don’t sign it!”