Should a patient be admitted to the hospital or “observed” in an outpatient status? It’s an eternal question that boils down to money with a smidgen of safety on the side.

As a hospitalist, it’s a constant struggle to understand and determine which status is most appropriate for my patients. And if I get it wrong, the hospital doesn’t get paid, the patient gets an huge bill, or worse.

So I went right to the source to sort this mess out.

MCG Health writes the guidelines on determining inpatient versus observation status for over 400 conditions. Dr. Bill Rifkin, MD is their managing editor and a fellow hospitalist who previously talked with us about unexplained care variation. India Watson, MSN, RN, CCM is a nurse and case manager and Manager of Care Strategies at MCG Health. Together they school me on the whole inpatient vs. observation drama, CHECK IT!

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