Patients Can’t Afford Not to Know When It Comes to Observation Care

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Statement attributable to:
Robert Wergin, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

“On behalf of our patients, America’s family physicians applaud the Senate for unanimously approving the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act.

“This legislation will provide a much needed layer of transparency for many patients who find themselves under medical care within the walls of a hospital, but haven’t officially been admitted. Often, they unexpectedly receive big medical bills after a short stay, not realizing that their Medicare hospitalization coverage did not apply. This is an unhappy surprise, putting the financial burden solely on the unexpecting patient.

“When it comes to their care, patients can’t afford not to know if they are ineligible for Medicare’s hospitalization coverage or nursing home benefits. The American Academy of Family Physicians applauds Congress for doing what is right for patients and requiring that they be informed when they are placed under observational care.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Wergin, contact Megan Moriarty, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5223, or

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website,