The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued answers to Frequently Asked Questions for hospitals implementing the Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice, including guidance on completing the free-text field that explains why the patient is not an inpatient. Effective March 8, all hospitals and critical access hospitals must provide the standard notice to all Medicare beneficiaries who receive outpatient observation services for more than 24 hours. Under the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act of 2015, hospitals must provide oral and written notice to beneficiaries within 36 hours after observation services are initiated, or sooner if the individual is transferred, discharged or admitted as an inpatient. The notice informs them that they are an outpatient receiving observation services, not an inpatient, and the associated implications for cost-sharing and eligibility for Medicare coverage of skilled nursing facility services. For more on the notice, visit