Observation Status at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital
Observation status is assigned when you do not meet requirements for inpatient admission but may still require short term monitoring and treatment. Discharge is usually expected within 24 hours. Observation allows the physician time to aggressively manage your care, to make a decision, and then to rapidly move you to the most appropriate level of care, either inpatient or home.
What You Should Know — Observation Is an Outpatient Service: Anytime during the first 24 hours of your observation stay your physician could make the decision to discharge you. Observation status usually does not exceed 24 hours. For this reason, it is important for you to make arrangements for your transportation once treatments are completed. While in observation, nursing or other staff will monitor you to evaluate your condition, provide continued treatments that are necessary, and communicate to your physician with the information he or she needs to provide you with appropriate care. If your physician decides that you require additional or longer treatment, your observation status may be changed to inpatient.
Billing for Observation: Insurance carriers and Medicare have special requirements for Observation Services. Observation is billed and reimbursed by insurance as an outpatient service, according to the benefit of your insurance plan. Charges are billed at an hourly rate, rather than a daily room charge. Observation begins when the order for outpatient observation is written by the physician, and ends when treatment is completed and you are discharged. Your insurance or Medicare may not pay for certain charges. This includes medications given to Medicare patients that can be taken on your own. These medications include, but are not limited to: pills, inhalers, insulin, ointments, creams and eye drops. You will be billed for any non-covered items, so it is important for you to be aware that your level of care is outpatient observation.
If you have additional concerns or questions regarding observation status, please speak with your physician or ask to speak with a Care Manager.