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Admission to the Hospital

You have been found to be sick enough that we cannot send you home safely.   So you must stay.  Or leave against medical advice (AMA).

Leaving AMA

If you leave against medical advice, you must sign a waiver accepting the consequences of your decision and the hospital is not responsible if your health gets worse. It is all on you.
The new term for this is Patient Directed Discharge, as it sounds nicer.


You have been Admitted or you are on Observation.   Why does that mean?

Admission means you meet all criteria that your insurance company needs to be able to "cover" your hospital stay.  Your "coverage" depends on your policy.  That is too much to get into here.
Observation means that you do not quite meet criteria to stay but you may meet that criteria soon. Usually this means less than 48 hour stay is possible.  

Why would I be on Observation and how do I know?

An Observation status is actually you being an OUTPATIENT being monitored in the hospital. 
For example, you have chest pain and the doctor is checking your heart enzymes (troponin) every 6 hours. Maybe they will go up and you are having a heart attack and must stay longer. Maybe it will not go up and you can be safely discharged home.
This can be a problem as some insurance companies may not cover the costs.
Also, if you need admission to a Nursing Home after discharge, this hospital "stay" does not count as time spent in the hospital.  Most nursing homes require a 72 hour ADMISSION (or two midnights) admitted to the hospital before they can accept a patient for longer term care.

You may not know what status you are being kept on, so if you are not told exactly your status, you should ask. 
 

Click here for the Medicare explanation on Observation.
 

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