Observation hours start accruing not when the patient comes into the hospital, but when the physician writes the order for observation. Observation hours end when all medically neces¬sary services related to observation are complete.
Hospitals got a last-minute reprieve from the Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice (MOON) notification requirement, which was set to go into effect August 6. Citing the need for additional time to revise the standardized notification form that hospitals will need to use to notify patients about the financial implications of being assigned to observation services, CMS moved back the start date for the requirement in the 2017 IPPS final rule to “no later than 90 days,” after the final version of the form is approved.
It's no secret that hospitals struggle with assigning the most appropriate status for patients, and this challenge is compounded by CMS' frequent changes to its regulations and guidance. To combat incorrect patient status assignments, one hospital has developed a system that rewards employees for speaking up when they suspect a patient's status is incorrect.
Observation services are an ongoing point of confusion for hospitals and patients, many of whom have become fearful of out-of-pocket costs and SNF coverage eligibility associated with outpatient observation services. Developing a workflow to comply with the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act and the Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice (MOON) is essential and is intended to help hospitals ease patients' concerns by clearing up the implications of observation.