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 American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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