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Courtney Statement After CMS Reversal on Two-Midnight Rule

April 19, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) made the following statement after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it has permanently removed the ‘Two-Midnight Rule’ which was unveiled two years ago as attempted fix to the ‘observation’ billing problem in the Medicare system. CMS had touted this rule as a solution to the harm observation coding was causing to patients eligibility for medical care post discharge, despite strong opposition from patients, advocates and frontline healthcare providers.

“The Two-Midnight Rule was not a solution to the observation crisis for hundreds of thousands of Medicare patients across the nation,” said Courtney. “The arbitrary coding of observation status is plunging families into a Medicare black hole financially and medically. While I am pleased they have ditched the Two-Midnight Rule, it is time for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to join the 56 other organizations and 118 bipartisan cosponsors in supporting passage of my bill, the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2015.”

The Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2015 amends Medicare to allow patients who are coded as under ‘observation status’ for three days to qualify for Medicare coverage at time of discharge into a Skilled-Nursing Facility (SNF). The three day rule had been fixed in statute since 1965 until the new observation coding disrupted that well established method of providing medically necessary care. Rep. Courtney’s bill would restore that prior patient protection. Courtney has been the leader on this issue since the 111th Congress, working across the aisle with colleagues and with a myriad of intendent stakeholders from a variety of health care fields.