A three night inpatient stay in a Hospital triggers a valuable 100 day rehabilitation benefit in a skilled nursing facility. But more and more patients leaving the hospital are learning that they were never formerly admitted. After its too late, patients are learning that the days they spent in the hospital are being billed to medicare on an outpatient basis. The result for the senior is that staying in the hospital under observation status does not trigger rehabilitation benefits and out of pocket costs may be higher.
On July 26 the U.S. Senate passed the "Notice Act". The law requires that within 12 months from the enactment date, hospitals must provide notice to Medicare recipients if they have not been admitted to the hospital. The law does not give patients any new rights to challenge the decision. But armed with the knowledge that they have not been admitted, patients can try to persuade their physician or the hospital to admit them.