When you’re staying in the hospital, you’ve either been admitted as an inpatient or you’re an outpatient in observation status. If you’re watching this, you are in the second category: outpatient observation. In outpatient observation, you haven’t been formally admitted to the hospital as an inpatient, even if you’re staying overnight.
So what does being an outpatient in observation status mean? It means your doctor needs more time to decide whether it’s safe for you to go home or if you need to be admitted as an inpatient. Your doctor may also need to do more tests to make the best treatment plan for you.
It’s important to know that your status as an outpatient will affect how your health insurance pays for the services you receive in the hospital. It may also affect whether or not Medicare will cover care in a skilled nursing facility following your hospital stay. Deciding to admit a patient to the hospital is a complex medical decision based on three factors: your needs, your doctor’s judgment, and a set of nationally established guidelines for appropriate hospital admission.
If you have any questions about being an outpatient in observation status or about the costs associated with your stay, you can speak with representatives from the hospital’s utilization committee or discharge planning department.
We’re glad you’ve chosen MedStar Health for your care, and we’ll do everything we can to take the very best care of you and your family.