Sherlock Holmes accused Dr Watson of seeing but not observing. Were Dr Watson a pediatric hospitalist, utilization reviewers would accuse him of observing but not hospitalizing or, more technically, of providing “observation-level care” rather than “inpatient-level care.” In this issue of Pediatrics, Fieldston et al convincingly demonstrate that there is no consistent difference between these 2 levels of care as applied to the pediatric population. Having excluded all potential rational explanations for these differences in billing status, the sole remaining conclusion (“no matter how improbable,” as Holmes would say) is that this is an arbitrary distinction used by payers to decrease reimbursement to both hospitals and physicians. Because pediatric hospital stays are frequently ≤2 days, hospitals caring for children, pediatricians, and families of hospitalized children are put at increased financial risk from this reduced reimbursement. Instead of spending our energy fighting each individual designation of observation-versus inpatient-level care,...

You do not currently have access to this content.