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How To Maximize A Stay In A Hospital

Ask If You Are On "Observation Status"

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Sometimes a patient is admitted to a hospital on an "observation status."  While on "observation status" you stay in the hospital, and receive hospital services. However,  you are not considered to be a patient.

"Observation status" is meaningful when it comes to your bill. Medicare and some private insurance charge patients a 20 percent co-payment. There is also no coverage for the cost of post-hospital nursing care or rehabiltation which require a minimum stay as a patient in a hospital before coverage takes effect.

In theory, observation status should not last more than a day or two. However, hospitals are sometimes using it for longer stays to avoid Medicare penalties in case there is a readmission soon after discharge.

If you are on observation status, it is advisable to insist that you be changed to "patient" status as soon as possible.

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