On Monday, May 12 at the Bristol Senior Center on Stafford Avenue, the president and CEO of Bristol Hospital, Kurt Barwis, will speak about and explain the current practice of hospitals to admit patients for “observation” or as “outpatients” even if the ailment is critical and the hospital stay covers several days.
The program is sponsored by Advocates for Bristol Seniors.
Barwis is also expected to speak about for-profit status for hospitals. A press release from the Advocates explained Bristol Hospital is one of several that is seeking to be taken over by a group that would change the operation of the facility from nonprofit to for-profit.
The press release said issue of “observation” status is of deep concern to seniors because it has led to thousands of dollars in expenses for many in Connecticut, and elsewhere, since this is a nationwide practice. Under current regulations for those covered by Medicare, the release reported, if a person is hospitalized for three days or more and then ordered by physicians to be transferred to a nursing home for further treatment, Medicare covers about the first 90 days of treatment in the nursing facility.
However, the release said, if the patient had been listed as under “observation” before being sent to the nursing facility, Medicare will not cover the costs. Many patients, unaware of this prohibition, and unaware of the “observation” status during their hospital stay, have been “stunned” to receive bills for thousands of dollars for the nursing home treatment, said the release from the senior center.
The release said an attorney from The Center for Medicare Advocacy spoke to Bristol seniors recently to explain how widespread is this practice, along with the financial hardship it imposes.
The discussion is free and open to the public but reservations must be made by calling (860)584-7895.