Issued to inform Medicare beneficiaries (including health plan enrollees) that they are outpatients receiving observation services and are not inpatients of a hospital or critical access hospital (CAH). Hospitals must provide an oral explanation in addition to the written notice which must be signed by the patient or patient's representative.
Hospitals (Includes CAHs)
When CMS posted the finalized MOON and form instructions on the CMS website on January 8, 2017, hospitals and CAHs were directed to begin using the MOON, no later than March 8, 2017.
The MOON must be delivered to beneficiaries in Original Medicare (fee-for-service) and Medicare Advantage enrollees who receive observation services as outpatients for more than 24 hours. The hospital or CAH must provide the MOON no later than 36 hours after observation services as an outpatient begin. This also includes beneficiaries in the following circumstances:
• Beneficiaries who do not have Part B coverage (as noted on the MOON, observation stays are covered under Medicare Part B).
• Beneficiaries who are subsequently admitted as an inpatient prior to the required delivery of the MOON.
• Beneficiaries for whom Medicare is either the primary or secondary payer.
• For purposes of these instructions, the term “beneficiary” means either beneficiary or representative, when a representative is acting for a beneficiary
The statute expressly provides that the MOON be delivered to beneficiaries who receive observation services as an outpatient for more than 24 hours. In other words, the statute does not require hospitals to deliver the MOON to all beneficiaries receiving outpatient services. The MOON is intended to inform beneficiaries who receive observation services for more than 24 hours that they are outpatients receiving observation services and not inpatients, and the reasons for such status, and must be delivered no later than 36 hours after observation services begin. However, hospitals and CAHs may deliver the MOON to an individual receiving observation services as an outpatient before such individual has received more than 24 hours of observation services. Allowing delivery of the MOON before an individual has received 24 hours of observation services affords hospitals and CAHs the flexibility to deliver the MOON consistent with any applicable State law that requires notice to outpatients receiving observation services within 24 hours after observation services begin. The flexibility to deliver the MOON any time up to, but no later than, 36 hours after observation services begin also allows hospitals and CAHs to spread out the delivery of the notice and other hospital paperwork in an effort to avoid overwhelming and confusing beneficiaries.
In general, the MOON must remain two pages, unless inclusion of additional information per section 400.3.8 or State-specific information per section 400.5 below results in additional page(s). Hospitals and CAHs subject to State law observation notice requirements may attach an additional page to the MOON to supplement the “Additional Information” section in order to communicate additional content required under State law, or may attach the notice required under State law to the MOON. The pages of the notice can be two sides of one page or one side of separate pages, but must not be condensed to one page.
Hospitals may include their business logo and contact information on the top of the MOON. Text may not be shifted from page 1 to page 2 to accommodate large logos, address headers, or any other information.
Hospitals must use the OMB-approved MOON (CMS-10611). Hospitals must type or write the following information in the corresponding blanks of the MOON:
• Patient name;
• Patient number; and
• Reason patient is an outpatient.
If the beneficiary refuses to sign the MOON, and there is no representative to sign on behalf of the beneficiary, the notice must be signed by the staff member of the hospital or CAH who presented the written notification. The staff member’s signature must include the name and title of the staff member, a certification that the notification was presented, and the date and time the notification was presented. The staff member annotates the “Additional Information” section of the MOON to include the staff member’s signature and certification of delivery. The date and time of refusal is considered to be the date of notice receipt.
Full instructions are available in Section 400, of Chapter 30 of the CMS Claims Processing Manual, available at: /Regulations-and-Guidance/Guidance/Manuals/Downloads/clm104c30.pdf (PDF)
On August 6, 2015, Congress enacted the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act (NOTICE Act) Public Law 114-42, amending Section 1866(a)(1) of the Social Security Act (the Act) (42 U.S.C. 1395cc(a)(1)), by adding a new subparagraph (Y). The NOTICE Act requires hospitals and CAHs to provide written and oral explanation of such written notification to individuals who receive observation services as outpatients for more than 24 hours.
The process for delivery of this notice, the Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice (MOON), was addressed in rulemaking, including a final rule, CMS-1655-F (81 FR 56761, 57037 through 57052, August 22, 2016), effective October 1, 2016. The resulting regulations are located at 42 CFR Part 489.20(y):
(y) In the case of a hospital or critical access hospital, to provide notice, as specified in paragraphs (y)(1) and (2) of this section, to each individual entitled to Medicare benefits under Title XVIII of the Act when such individual receives observation services as an outpatient for more than 24 hours. Notice must be provided to the individual not later than 36 hours after observation services are initiated or sooner if the individual is transferred, discharged, or admitted. Notice may be provided before such individual receives 24 hours of observation services as an outpatient.
(1) Written notice. Hospitals and critical access hospitals must use a standardized written notice, as specified by the Secretary, which includes the following information:
(i) An explanation of the status of the individual as an outpatient receiving observation services and not as an inpatient of the hospital or critical access hospital and the reason for status as an outpatient receiving observation services; and
(ii) An explanation of the implications of such status as an outpatient on services furnished by the hospital or critical access hospital (including services furnished on an inpatient basis), such as Medicare cost-sharing requirements, and subsequent eligibility for Medicare coverage for skilled nursing facility services.
(2) Oral notice. The hospital must give an oral explanation of the written notification described in paragraph (y)(1) of this section.
(3) Signature requirements. The written notice specified in paragraph (y)(1) of this section must either—
(i) Be signed by the individual who receives observation services as an outpatient or a person acting on the individual's behalf to acknowledge receipt of such notification; or
(ii) If the individual who receives observation services as an outpatient or the person acting on behalf of the individual refuses to provide the signature described in paragraph (y)(1) of this section, is signed by the staff member of the hospital or critical access hospital who presented the written notification and includes the name and title of the staff member, a certification that the notification was presented, and the date and time the notification was presented.