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The Boston Globe



Medicare Catch-22 is an assault on seniors

Seniors are again under assault as a result of a regulatory battle between Medicare administrators and hospitals (MANY ARE SNARED BY A DEVASTATING MEDICARE CATCH-22,” Page A1, Aug. 25).

Medicare administrators, in an attempt to control hospital costs and readmissions, will penalize hospitals if too many inpatients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, or will demand refunds if an inpatient should have been classified as an outpatient. Hospitals, not to be caught by these rules, have begun to classify a growing number of patients as being hospitalized for “observation.” This results in the patient being personally responsible for many hospital costs and for rehabilitation or nursing home costs following a hospital stay. In many cases the seniors are unaware of how their status is classified and of the implications of that status until they receive bills for these services.

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