Vital Signs newsletter: Are you being ‘observed’ in the hospital?

If you’re a Medicare enrollee who has been hit by an unexpected medical bill, you might be familiar with the term “observation status.”

Hospitals increasingly are placing seniors under “observation” instead of admitting them as inpatients, and a Senate panel led by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins wants them to hit the brakes.

Many seniors are surprised to learn they were never admitted, even after staying overnight at a hospital and receiving treatment, testing and medications. Most learn about it when a bill arrives in the mail for out-of-pocket costs they never anticipated.

Why are hospitals doing this, why is it costing seniors money and how is Maine responding?

Are you being ‘observed’ in the hospital? Seniors, you might get a hefty bill


Other top health stories:

Maine attorney general joins suit against phony cancer charities

Four phony cancer charities allegedly scammed consumers out of more than $187 million.

Health committee Democrats reject LePage’s call to drug test all TANF recipients

A LePage spokeswoman said the vote indicates that Democrats are “not serious about meaningful welfare reform.”

From our bloggers

John Moore, Family Health and Safety

4 reasons to practice mindfulness even if you’re not a Zen monk

Both as a meditation, and a daily practice integrated into “real life,” it’s a necessary part of my life. I cannot do justice to the benefit.

Diane Atwood, Catching Health

Strokes kill people we love. You need to know the risks.

Thirty years ago, my beloved grandmother — her name was Joanna Tenney, but we called her Nanny — had a massive stroke and died a few days later.

From the source

Patients who know what to expect after undergoing surgery are happier and less likely to experience problems, according to a new Gallup poll.

Compiled by BDN Health Editor Jackie Farwell

Jackie Farwell

About Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and finding new ways to help you stay well. I live in Gorham with my husband Nick and our hound dog Riley.