The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) has made revisions to its Important Message from Medicare notice which all beneficiaries receive upon admission to the hospital and again at the time that the hospital establishes a discharge date. There are two forms of the notice, with essentially the same text: one for fee-for-service beneficiaries and one for beneficiaries receiving services through Medicare+Choice Organizations (persons enrolled in a Medicare participating managed care organization). The initial form of this notice was published in the Federal Register at 65 Fed. Reg. 19783 (April 12, 2000). In accordiance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), the HCFA has published a PRA comment notice in the Federal Register at 65 Fed. Reg. 57821 (Sept. 26, 2000)
The notices are required under '1866(a)(1)(M) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. '1395cc(a)(1)(M), and 42 C.F.R. ''466.78, 489.20, 489.27, 489.34, 411.404, 412.42, 417,440, 422.620. Useful information about the notices is available from HCFA's website at http://www.hcfa.gov/regs/prdact95.htm.
These notices are important in exercising the beneficiary's appeal rights when hospital services are denied, reduced, or terminated. These notices, particularly when given at the time the hospital or managed care organization intends to discharge the patient, become essential to securing expedited review while still in the hospital.