Hospice Providers Move Towards Addressing Social Determinants of Health

Marshaling community resources to address social determinants of health among patients and their families is the next step in the evolution of hospice care, Bill Frist, M.D., co-founder of Frist-Cressey Ventures, told Hospice News at Feb. 19 assembly of health care investors in Chicago. Social determinants of health include patient and family demographics, access to […]

States Seek Hospice Exemption for Opioid Prescription

A year after imposing restrictions on opioid prescriptions, some states now seek to loosen the reins. Florida is the most recent state to consider exempting hospices from restrictions designed to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic. A state Senate committee on Feb. 19 approved a bill that would exempt health care providers from checking the state’s […]

HopeHealth Merges with Cape Cod Healthcare, Ends Pediatric Hospice Contract

Rhode Island-based HopeHealth announced it would be ending its pediatric hospice program shortly after completing a merger with Cape Cod Healthcare, the Cape Cod region’s largest hospice provider.   Effective Feb. 1, HopeHealth’s hospice, palliative care, Alzheimer’s and dementia services units began operating under the auspices of Cape Cod Healthcare. The merger, announced in Dec. […]

VITAS and AT&T Exploring Virtual Reality Technology in Hospice Care

VITAS Healthcare, the largest provider of hospice care in the United States, and communications giant AT&T are collaborating to develop alternative therapies using 5G virtual reality systems to reduce chronic pain and anxiety among hospice patients. The companies in January launched a study at a Southern California cancer center to evaluate virtual and augmented reality […]

Hospice M&A Could Overtake Home Health

Though the mergers and acquisitions market for home health remains remains hot, investors will likely shift greater attention towards hospices in 2019 and coming years, according to analysis by the Braff Group, an M&A advisory company. “The market for home health agencies could very well be on ice for a year (or more) beginning July […]

Half of Hospices Unprepared for Regulatory Audit

Fewer than 50% of hospices indicated that they were ready for a federal audit or additional document request, according to a recent survey by Optima Health. As hospices come under increasing regulatory scrutiny, ensuring complete and accurate documentation is a growing concern. “The quality of a hospice provider’s documentation can determine the outcome of a […]

ACO Quality and Cost Control Methods Could Impact Hospice Patients

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are using patient segmentation to maintain quality of care while cutting costs associated with treating high-need, high-cost patients, such as hospice patients, according to a January report from the Commonwealth Fund. The report comes at a time when hospices and ACOs are exploring opportunities for greater collaboration. For example, VITAS Healthcare, […]

Medicare Advantage Payments Growing More Slowly Than Expected

As hospices prepare for the Medicare Advantage carve-in to become effective in 2021, current Medicare Advantage payments are growing at a slower rate than expected. The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed a 1.5% increase to the baseline Medicare Advantage payment rates for 2020, below the 3.4% increase that was enacted for […]

CMS Proposed Rules to Improve Health IT in Post-Acute Care

The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Feb. 8 proposed rules designed to move the nation’s health care system—including hospices—closer to IT interoperability. The Interoperability and Patient Access Proposed Rule is designed to help health care providers, insurers, and other stakeholders make patient data more useful and transferable through open, secure, standardized, […]

Medicare Service-Intensity Payments Not Improving Quality of Care

Evidence suggests that Medicare’s service intensity add-on (SIA) payment structure for hospices is boosting payments but thus far has failed to improve the quality of care. The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced SIA in 2016 to give hospices a greater financial incentive for improving care during the last seven days of […]