So the day comes when you are being discharged from the hospital. You are happy to be released, yet confused and concerned about what you should do and when you should do it. To help ease the transition, make sure you get your discharge plans in writing. Medicare regulations require hospitals to have a process for all patients to receive written discharge instructions, including lists of follow-up appointments, medication and dosage directions. But according to a report by the Congressional Research Service, those discharge plans can be incomplete.
Make sure that prior to discharge your family has brought you a copy of the current prescription drug formulary for your Medicare drug plan so that you can confirm that any change and/or addition of a prescription drug is covered by your plan and at what tier and cost as an outpatient. Also, if part of your discharge plan is that you should follow up with a specialist for your condition, and you are on a Medicare Advantage/HMO plan, connect with your primary care physician for an appropriate referral to one of the specialists in your medical group.
Before entering a hospital, print a sample discharge plan (you can find one at (www. ahrq.gov/qual/goinghomeguide.pdf) as a reference tool for you and your family. First make sure you have a completed copy from your hospital care team before you are discharged and that the hospital copy contains the information referenced in the “going home guide“. Your discharge plan will be a handy reference and a useful tool for you to bring to follow-up visits with your primary care and/or specialists.