Friday, November 30, 2018

A Hospital Room Doesn't Always Mean Inpatient

When you go to a hospital, except for same day or emergency services, once you are moved into a room in the hospital and provided services (intravenous hydration, oxygen, medications, nursing care, etc.) you generally deduct you have been officially admitted and considered an inpatient. But wait...not so fast...did you know you can be receiving services which appears as though you are an inpatient but in fact you are not. Thus comes the status known as "hospital observation" which is a type of outpatient status. Previously there were times when a physician wanted to "observe" an individual for a short period of time to decide if in fact he/she needed more skilled inpatient care for their health problem. Today, someone can be placed on observation status for days and often without their knowledge or what the implication of this can be.
So you may be asking yourself, why should it matter to the healthcare consumer if their status is inpatient or observation. The two main reasons why it matters are the patient's out of pocket expenses and the ability to receive skilled care at discharge is greatly impacted.
With so many changes in healthcare coverage, a well informed healthcare consumer should learn as much as possible about this subject. To gain a better understanding, take time and read What is Hospital Observation Status and Why You Pay More If You Are Hospitalized for Observation.
If you find it difficult for you or your loved ones to effectively navigate the healthcare  system maze, the service of a patient advocate can be helpful. Just remember if you use the advocate in the facility although they do seek to assist patients and their family solve problems, ultimately they work for the facility and there may be limitation as to what they ultimately can do. The other alternative is to hire a private patient advocate. When hiring an advocate you want to be certain they have the skills and experience you need for your specific situation. Learn more on how to screen and hire a patient advocate. Be sure you make it clear what you need their service for and what your expectations are up front. Good communications is key and it is always better when things are in writing. 

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