Bill Would Streamline Medicare Advantage Prior Authorizations

As hospices ready themselves for a Medicare Advantage (MA) carve-in, U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wa.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) plan to introduce a bill to reduce regulatory burdens associated with the prior authorization process, a legislative aide from DelBene’s office told Hospice News. Though the bill text is not yet complete, the co-sponsors are basing […]

CDC: Opioid Guidelines Don’t Apply to Hospice

In response to reports of misapplication of opioid prescribing guidelines, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has clarified that those guidelines do not apply to end-of-life care, palliative care, or treatment of pain related to cancer. The guidelines, issued in 2016, recommends nonopioid approaches including physical therapy as a preferred first-line treatment […]

CMS to Fix Claims Issues, Revises Appeal Rules

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is working to fix bugs in the Medicare claims processing system resulted in underpayments to hospices during 2018 and early 2019. The agency also alerted hospices to revised rules for electronic signatures and appeals. CMS last year altered Medicare’s claims processing systems to better identify prior […]

WSJ Editorial Debates Hospice Fraud Case

A major fraud case centered around live hospice discharges is being argued not only in 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. Kyle Clark and Andrew George, trial lawyers for the Washington-based law firm of Baker Botts published a recent editorial, “Medicare’s Hospice Rules Could Make Your […]

Tech Reshaping Hospice Care

Technology is changing the ways hospice care is delivered. From the evolution of electronic medical records (EMR) to the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), hospice providers are leveraging new systems to create efficiencies, improve patient care, and make their organizations more attractive to investors. Numerous organizations are discovering the value of predictive analytics, telemedicine, and […]

Rural Access to Hospice Bill Expected to Pass

First proposed in 2017, the Rural Access to Hospice Act is expected to pass the 116th Congress due to widespread bipartisan support, according to hospice policy advocates. U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), reintroduced the legislation last week. If enacted it would remove a statutory barrier in current law, allowing patients […]

North Carolina Nonprofit Hospices Merge

The Hospice of Randolph County (HRC)  and Hospice of the Piedmont (HOP), both in North Carolina, will merge effective Sept. 30, the second large nonprofit hospice merger in the region this year. HRC will continue doing business as Hospice of Randolph County, a subsidiary of Hospice of Piedmont, pending regulatory approvals and approval from the […]

‘Talking the Talk’: Advancing End-of-Life Conversations

Identifying patients in need of hospice earlier in the course of their illness is a business and moral imperative for hospice providers. Though conversations about end of life are difficult for everyone involved, including clinicians and social workers who facilitate them, they reap substantial benefits for patients, families, payers, and providers. Early conversations are positively […]

Interim HealthCare CEO on the Future of Hospice

Since being named President and CEO of Florida-based Interim HealthCare in January, Jennifer Sheets has spent a lot of time on the road, visiting the franchise owners who comprise Interim’s network of 325 hospice, home health care, and other home-based health service locations. Interim’s franchise business model is unique in health care. Franchise owners in […]

Niagara Hospice Launches New Dementia Program

Lockport, N.Y.-based Niagara Hospice is applying new training and new methods to its recently expanded dementia care and family support program. Through the program, a dedicated dementia care team uses new behavioral monitoring, treatment techniques, and memory and sensory activities to improve patients’ quality of life and help them stay at home as long as […]