Know your rights when it comes to hospital stays, CARA says

04_15 resized jodi

CARA executive director Jodi Reid addresses a workshop for retirees at the Redding Library on April 12 regarding patient rights during hospital stays.

The big overall from the California Assocation of Retired Americans special workshop: RECORD THIS PH. ###: (LIVANTA) 1-877-588-1123. This is the national advocate for you if you feel you are being discharged prematurely from a hospital. Just making the call will start your file and stop your discharge until it is cleared up by the hospital staff and a Livanta rep. Premature discharge is a huge problem.

Also take note:
I. Hospital stays for surgeries etc.
Get detailed info ASAP and as much as possible from a health care provider before you are admitted, and about what is involved post-visit. Most people still don’t do this for themselves or loved ones and it leads to problems like living conditions in recovery and with accessibility/mobility. Hospitals aren’t good at communicating this to patients, or don’t have enough staff to do it properly.
A). Have a family member/friend record any conversations about your care pre and post-visit with a smartphone device etc.
II. DISCHARGE
A). Hospitals are notoriously understaffed on weekends. They are required to have a “discharge planner” coordinate a “safe discharge” for you either through a social worker, nurse, or the “discharge planner”. The problem is most hospitals discharge patients too quickly and try to do it on Fridays to reduce bed counts. People end up back in the hospital because of this. Hospitals can be fined up to $10,000 if a patient re-enters the hospital within 30 days of an unsafe discharge.
B). This is so pervasive that Medicare has stepped in and contracts with a third party (Livanta) to make sure you have a safe discharge. Medicare pays for the appeal of your discharge, a secret hospitals don’t want you to know about.
C). If you end up at a skilled nursing facility for recovery, Medicare pays for the first 100 days.
D). MC also pays for Hospice, which provides very good service.
III. Make sure you are fully “admitted” into the hospital, and not put in “observation”
A). MC doesn’t pay for observation. Don’t sign anything until you see an admission slip. You are not admitted until you sign this piece of paper.
B) Observation is a way hospitals try to get around not having to pay the $10k fine. But all it leads to is a huge bill you don’t know you weren’t covered for until it’s too late, and probably can’t afford.
C). Be an assertive patient. Know your rights.

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