Friday, March 22, 2013

Hospital Admission or Observation: Ask!
 Make sure you know what your parent's status is during a hospital stay. Even if your father has been assigned to a room, even if he stays overnight, he may not have been admitted as an in-patient. His deductibles and co-pays under Medicare will be different depending on whether the hospital has admitted him as an in-patient (Medicare Part A) or he is there for "observation" on an out-patient basis (Medicare Part B). Patients are considered under observation while the doctor considers whether to admit or discharge him.

Also beware that there have been cases where patients were in the hospital for 3 days and then discharged to rehab for physical therapy only to find out later that Medicare would not pay for the rehab because they did not have the required 3-day prior hospital inpatient stay. Bills to the patient for the rehab can start (conservatively) at $200 per day.

Placing patients under observation rather than admitting them has become more common as hospitals are under pressure to reduce costly in-patient stays and are being scrutinized for quality care by evaluations of re-admission rates.

For more information see Medicare publication 11435:

Are You a Hospital Inpatient or Outpatient?

You may wish to contact Senators Casey and Toomey and ask them to support the 
Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2013. 
Here is information on the Act:
American Health Care Association

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Privatize the Lottery?

There are lots of questions about Governor Corbett’s plan to privatize the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Some have to do with the legalities, competitiveness and transparency of the process but mine have to do with whether or not the Lottery will continue its level of support to programs and services for older Pennsylvanians.

Pennsylvania has the only state lottery that dedicates its proceeds solely to programs that benefit older residents. Programs that it supports include long-term living services such as in-home care, adult day care, home delivered meals, senior centers, health insurance/Medicare counseling, shared-ride transportation, low-cost prescription drugs (PACE and PACENET), and property tax and rent rebates (and more!).

By supporting older Pennsylvanians, the Lottery indirectly supports us: the younger caregivers, family and friends of elders. What if we had to step in to provide assistance in the face of reduced support from the Lottery? We live in a community and what happens to some of us affects all of us.

Let’s get all the information on the consequences of privatizing the Pennsylvania Lottery before we proceed.