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Issue Background

Patient Rights & Access to Care

The long term care profession is concerned that Medicare beneficiaries’ access to skilled nursing facility (SNF) care is being constrained by the increased use of observation stays, which prevents patients from reaching the three-day stay threshold for Medicare coverage. 

The Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2013

Observation Stays: Representatives Joseph Courtney (D-CT) and Tom Latham (R-IA) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) share our concern and have introduced the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2013 (H.R. 1179/S. 569) to address these situations. 

We stand ready to  ensure proper access to Medicare and that patients do not face limits on therapy services. 

Medicare Part B physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), and speech-language pathology (SLP) services enable patients to restore or maintain their highest level of functional independence following an illness or injury.  These cost-effective services help prevent hospital admissions, institutionalization, and facilitate an individual’s return to community living following an inpatient stay.    

The long term care profession is concerned that Medicare beneficiaries’ access to skilled nursing facility (SNF) care is being constrained by the increased use of observation stays, which prevents patients from reaching the three-day stay threshold for Medicare coverage. 

“The extraordinary people who work in long term and post-acute care don’t consider this a job; it’s a calling.”

Gov. Mark Parkinson, President & CEO American Health Care Association