What is observation care?

When you hear you need observation care, it means your doctors want to watch you carefully for some more time in the hospital. This helps them decide if you need more treatment in the hospital or if you can safely go home.

Observation stays can happen anywhere in the hospital. You may be staying in the Emergency Department or moving to another area of the hospital for the length of your stay.

How is it different from inpatient admission?

Observation care is a lower acuity short stay of about 24 hours in the hospital, while inpatient admission can go for longer. During your initial evaluation, your doctors will determine if your condition can be managed appropriately within 24 hours or if it needs a longer stay.

What happens during observation?

You may be in the hospital for about a day (24 hours). You may need additional blood tests, X-rays, or consultation with specialists and you’ll receive any treatment you need during this time.

We will examine you again within 24 hours and decide if you need further treatment in the hospital as an inpatient or may go home and recover.

Because these stays are typically short, we’ll also talk with you about any testing, treatments and appointments you may need after you leave.

How much will it cost me for observation care?

Good question. It’s one we get asked a lot. How much you pay for observation care depends on your insurance plan.

Most insurance companies consider observation as outpatient care, which is billed differently than if we admit you for a longer inpatient stay. For example, Medicare Part B covers 80% of observation care costs. If you have supplemental insurance, you can use that to cover the rest.

If you have another insurance plan, please contact the customer service number on the back of your insurance card to verify coverage.

Have questions about observation care or need help navigating what’s next?

We’re here to help. Please call Utilization Management at 216.372.0786 for Ohio patients or 954.689.5719 for Florida patients.