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Inpatient and Outpatient Hospital Services

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Inpatient hospital services are services that provide patients a place to stay overnight. Inpatient care facilities can also be provided for special services. A couple of examples of an inpatient care setting are a skilling nursing facility or a long-term care facility. “A skilled nursing facility (SNF) provided skilled nursing and/or rehabilitation services to help with recovery after a hospital stay” (Valerius, Bayes, Newby, & Blochowiak, 2014). The nurses in a skilled nursing facility are licensed nurses and work under the supervision of a physician. The skills performed by these nurses are services such as intravenous injections, feeding through a tube, and changing dressings on a wound.

A long-term care facility “describes facilities such as nursing homes that provide custodial care for patients with chronic disabilities and prolonged illnesses” (Valerius, Bayes, Newby, & Blochowiak, 2014). A long-term care facility staffs certified nursing assistants that help in assisting the nurses. Coding for inpatient hospital services begins as patients are discharged. The coding will vary, depending on the reason for treatment. “Some patient codes are generalists; others may have special skills in a certain area, like surgical coding or Medicare” (Valerius, Bayes, Newby, & Blochowiak, 2014).

Outpatient hospital services are also known as ambulatory care. The most common type of outpatient hospital is the hospital emergency rooms or departments. “Emergency care involves a situation in which a delay in treatment would lead to a significant increase in the threat to a patient’s life or body part” (Valerius, Bayes, Newby, & Blochowiak, 2014). The emergency room is where the decision is made as to whether the patient is discharged after treatment or admitted as an inpatient. With the expansion of hospitals outpatient services are now offered. “Ambulatory care covered all types of healthcare services that do not require an overnight hospital stay” (Valerius, Bayes, Newby, & Blochowiak, 2014). As technology advances many ambulatory care services are developing. There are services provided such as same-day surgeries that can occur in one of two places that are not overnight places.

The first place is an ambulatory surgical unite and the other place is an ambulatory surgical center. The surgical center is a facility that stands on its own without the hospitals help. There are services provided by outpatient hospital services not provided by inpatient hospital services such as home health care, therapy, at-home recovery, and hospice care. In each situation help is provided outside of the hospital for patients who need extra help getting back on his or her feet, or for patients who need help to pass on. Coding for outpatient services is similar to that of inpatient services, but also different. There will be less or no charges for overnight stays. The coding will depend on the procedure and usually will be similar to that of regular doctor appointments.

Hospitals provide services such as inpatient and outpatient services. The major difference between the two being that one is temporary and the other can be long-term. Coding is similar, but will different by procedure and length of time spent in the facility. Inpatient and outpatient services are provided to benefit patients and be less costly in the long-run.

Valerius, J., Bayes, N., Newby, C., & Blochowiak, J. (2014). Medical insurance: An integrated claims process approach (6th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

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