Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Observation Days Can Be Costly for Patients

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Observation Days Can Be Costly for Patients

Article excerpt

I enjoyed reading the article "Patients Squeezed by Rising Number of Hospital Observation Cases" (March 26) by Kris B. Mamula.

This is important information to impart to the public as no one understands the difference between an observation day and an inpatient hospital stay. They also don't realize they are going to receive a copay bill. Most hospitals do not provide any information regarding the difference.

As a health care patient advocate, educator and former health care administrator, I have met many people who were faced with copay bills or had to pay for skilled nursing care because observation days do not count as part of the Medicare three-night hospital stay requirement for skilled nursing care.

In the article, hospitals paint the picture that this has been a managed care requirement, However, they failed to mention that they do benefit from this as well. If someone is discharged from an observation days stay and then readmitted within 30 days to the hospital, the hospital will not be penalized from Medicare for a high readmission rate.

The only entities losing from this are the patients and their families!



Caregiver Champion

Squirrel Hill

The free riders

Regarding "Supreme Court Deadlocks Over Public Employee Union Case" (March 29): Those who object to union fair-share fees never seem to reject the pay, health, pension and paid vacation benefits unions have won.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said taxes are the price of civilization. Franklin Delano Roosevelt said we are all in this together.

The free rider will gobble up the hard-won benefits provided by unions' civilizing collective action at work but then refuse to pay toward any of it.


Mt. Lebanon

The writer works for a union.

A career path

When I started working at Wal-Mart, I wasn't sure what to expect. I certainly didn't know if it would turn into a career.

I encounter a lot of different ideas about what it is like to work for Wal-Mart. So I was grateful that the Post-Gazette reported on the company giving associates the largest wage increase ever in the country ("A Raise in Pay," March 11 photo).

Personally, I now make $3. …

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