You go to the emergency room. Hospital staff feels you should be watched for a period of time. So, you are placed in “observation status” for say, three days. Well, “observation status” is not” inpatient status”. Inpatient status is a more intense level of care. And, although the observation status care may not be as comprehensive as inpatient care, the cost is less; thus everyone thinks it’s a great idea.
But, let’s say your condition is such that you can’t go home or to a family member’s or friend’s house but instead need to go to a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF).
Here’s where it can cost you. For Medicare to pay for SNF services, you must have had inpatient status for a minimum three days in the hospital. Medicare will not pay for the time you were in the SNF if you had outpatient status while in the hospital. You will have to go back to the hospital and argue your case.
If you’re in the hospital more than a few hours, always ask your doctor or the hospital staff if you’re an inpatient or an outpatient.
Call our office with your Medicare questions.