October 11, 2013

NYSUT-backed bill awaits governor's signature

Author: Liza Frenette
Source: NYSUT Communications
The state Legislature has delivered the NYSUT-backed "patient notification" bill to the governor for his signature.

NYSUT retirees mobilized for months to advocate for passage of the legislation, which was passed unanimously by lawmakers. The bill requires New York hospitals to provide notice to patients who are being treated — but are placed on "observation status "rather than inpatient — and to explain the implications.

People who are in the hospital but not officially admitted as inpatients may not qualify for Medicare-covered skilled nursing facility services following discharge from the hospital. Medicare requires a three-day stay at a hospital in order to qualify for after-care. But, even though some retirees have been in the hospital for three days or more, they were still listed as "observation status" and thus Medicare would not cover their follow-up care expenses in a skilled facility. This means some unsuspecting patients received huge bills. Others, upon learning of the status, did not get after-care because they could not afford it on their own.

NYSUT members are encouraged to contact Gov. Cuomo's office at 877-255-9417 to urge him to sign the bill, which was delivered to him on Oct. 9.

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