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Signature again required on 'Important Message'
Follow-up notice added to process
Beginning this month, the "Important Message From Medicare" once again has to be signed by the patient.
Years ago, in an effort to reduce paperwork and bureaucracy — and after a lengthy and passionate campaign by providers — what is now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) eliminated the signature requirement, deciding that giving patients the information upon admission was sufficient.
Effective July 2007, a revised Important Message (IM) must be issued within two days of admission and signed by Medicare fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage patients. Hospitals also will be required to deliver a copy of the signed IM before the patient leaves the hospital. According to CMS, the follow-up notice will serve as reminder of the earlier notification about the beneficiary's discharge rights.
The second step would not be required if the initial delivery and signing of the IM took place within two days of discharge.
The revised IM will include the following:
More information is available at www.cms.hhs.gov.