When a patient chooses to continue to occupy his hospital accommodations beyond the
check-out time for personal reasons, the hospital may charge the beneficiary for his
continued stay. Such a stay beyond the checkout time, for the comfort or convenience
of the patient, is not covered under the program and the hospital's agreement to participate
in the program does not preclude it from charging the patient. However, it is expected
that hospitals will not impose late charges on a beneficiary unless he has been given
reasonable notice (for example, 24 hours) of his impending discharge.
Where the patient's medical condition is the cause of the stay past the check-out
time (e.g., the patient needs further services, is bedridden and awaiting transportation
to his home or to an SNF, or dies in the hospital), the stay beyond the discharge
hour is covered under the program and the hospital may not charge the patient.