March 14, 2013


“Millions of Medicare beneficiaries are transferred from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities (SNF) each year; however, current Medicare rules have left too many seniors trapped in a coverage gap resulting in huge out of pocket costs.  That’s why the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare supports legislation introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT),  Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to allow hospital “observation stays” to satisfy Medicare’s skilled nursing eligibility requirements. Studies show there are a growing number of observation stays, topping 1 million patients, which is a 25% increase since 2007. It makes no sense for seniors who’ve been in the hospital for extended periods to be denied coverage for skilled nursing care simply because the hospital listed their status as observational instead of inpatient.

The ‘Improving Access to Medicare Act’ would amend Medicare so that a period of observation status in a hospital would count toward satisfying the three-day inpatient hospital requirement to be eligible for SNF care. The National Committee supports eliminating the three-day prior hospitalization requirement for skilled nursing facility (SNF) eligibility or, as a first step, requiring that all time in the hospital be counted toward the three days – whether or not the individual is actually admitted to the hospital. The current requirement imposes significant costs on seniors who require nursing home care after hospitalization and we applaud Congressmen Courtney and Latham and Senator Brown for introducing this common-sense reform legislation for America’s seniors. ”…Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO


The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.

Media Inquiries to:
Pamela Causey 202-216-8378/202-236-2123
Kim Wright 202-216-8414