Why? A Serious Health Condition under the FMLA – Part 2.

Boy, this post is going to be really short.  Remember last time when I told you that the definition of a serious health condition included:

. . . an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care as defined in §825.114 . . . .

29 CFR §825.113(a).

Of course you remember.  So, what does “inpatient care” mean?  Simple:

Inpatient care means an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity as defined in §825.113(b), or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care.

29 CFR §825.114.

If you stay overnight in a hospital, or a hospice or a residential care facility, that is inpatient care.

That’s it.  Now I could stop there, but what kind of a lawyer would I be if I made it that simple? So let’s ask a question – what is an “overnight stay”?  Do we start the clock when the employee gets to the hospital or when they are actually admitted?  How long does the employee need to stay in the hospital for it to be “overnight”?  Will midnight to 5 a.m. do it?  11 p.m. to 7 a.m.? Something else?

According to one court, the 3rd Circuit in Bonkowski v. Oberg Indus., 787 F.3d 190 (3rd Cir. 2015), an “overnight stay” is one that lasts from one day to the next and lasts at least eight hours, as measured by the patient’s admission and discharge from the hospital.  Got that, starts in one day and ends in the next (or the one after that and so on) and is at least eight hours long.  Where do they come up with this stuff?  Beats me.