Upswing in Hospice Utilization, Length of Stay

An upward trend in hospice utilization during 2018 brought a record number of patients into hospice for longer periods of time, according to a report from Atlanta-based research firm Excel Health. Hospice utilization among Medicare beneficiaries climbed above 50 percent during 2018, the highest rate since the 1983 inception of the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Meanwhile […]

Optum Partners with Genoa Healthcare on Hospice Pharmacies

Optum Hospice Pharmacy Services is collaborating with Genoa Healthcare to establish pharmacies specializing in hospice care in 47 states, designed to improve local access to medications and facilitate speedier delivery for hospice providers and patients. Optum—which is owned by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) —will bring its hospice-centric pharmacy services to Genoa’s pharmacy network of 450 […]

Nonprofit Hospices Fight to Compete with For-Profit Chains

Nonprofit hospices have been bleeding market share for several years—but are not going gentle into that good night. Rather, many nonprofits are adapting to compete with large for-profit providers that are entering the space in greater numbers. In the 1980s and 90s nonprofits provided virtually all hospice care in the United States, but the balance […]

CMS Will Not ‘Unbundle’ Hospice Care Under Medicare Advantage

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has affirmed that beneficiaries receiving hospice care covered under a Medicare Advantage carve-in would not lose access to services they currently receive as part of the hospice benefit. This affirmation addresses a question that has lived in the minds of hospice providers since the agency announced […]

VA to Expand Hospice, Palliative Care for Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working to expand hospice and palliative care utilization among veterans, both in its own facilities and through collaborations with private health care providers. Historically, hospice utilization among veterans has been lower than that of the general population. In 2000, 21.6 percent of all Medicare decedents enrolled in […]

Hospice Care Thriving in Nursing Homes

Hospice utilization among nursing home residents has increased dramatically during the past five years. While most hospice patients receive care in a private residence, a rising number of patients are receiving care in assisted living and long term care facilities, according to a recent report from LeadingAge, an association of non-profit organizations that serve seniors. […]

Referrals Key to Hospice Business Growth

As demand for hospice care grows, hospice providers in an increasingly competitive marketplace are working to bring a larger share of those patients under their wings. In addition to traditional methods such as territory management and improving call volume, many are finding that the key to successful marketing is building relationships—with referral organizations, physicians, and […]

Palliative Care Could Cut Health Care Costs by $103 Billion

Palliative care could reduce societal health care costs by $103 billion within the next 20 years, the nonprofit economic research group Florida TaxWatch said in a report. The group recommended that policymakers take action to expand palliative care utilization in the state. Palliative care in general can reduce health care costs by more than $4,000 […]

Study: Hospice Concurrent With Cancer Treatment Reduces Costs

A study of more than 13,000 veterans in Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) found that patients receiving hospice care concurrent with chemotherapy or radiation therapy were less likely to use aggressive treatments or be admitted to intensive care compared to similar patients who were not enrolled in hospice, significantly reducing medical costs. Unlike organizations reimbursed […]

CMS to Delay Hospice Compare Data on ‘Imminent Death’ Quality Measure

Citing a need for further testing, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will not release Hospice Compare data on hospice visits during the last seven days of life as expected this summer. CMS uses Hospice Compare to publicly report hospice provider performance on quality measures.Referring organizations such as hospitals and nursing homes, […]