The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) on June 1 offered praise for the introduction of the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act, HR 3650, which would count observation stays in the hospital toward meeting the three-day hospital stay rule.

Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of AHCA/NCAL, said the long term and post-acute care profession applauds Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Ron Estes (R-Kansas), and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) for introducing “this important, bipartisan legislation today.”

“The three-day hospital stay rule causes too many seniors who need follow-up care in a skilled nursing facility to be shackled with out-of-pocket costs in the thousands because they do not qualify for Medicare coverage. For years we have advocated to eliminate this confusing and devastating policy barrier,” he said.

Parkinson said the waiver of the requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency has benefitted thousands of Medicare beneficiaries and demonstrated that eliminating this policy can work.

“Now it is time this issue was fixed permanently. We greatly appreciate that this legislation will count observation stays toward the three-day stay requirement, ultimately helping our patients receive the quality care they deserve without worrying about how they’re going to pay for it.”