On the Horizon: Value-Based Hospice Care

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is experimenting with the concept of including hospice in value-based payment models, as evidenced by the forthcoming Medicare Advantage carve-in, the Medicare Care Choices model and the Primary Care First initiative. While the agency has no immediate plans to transform the Medicare Hospice Benefit’s per diem […]

St. Croix Hospice De Novo Expands Nebraska Footprint

St. Paul, Minn.-based St. Croix Hospice has expanded its footprint in Nebraska by adding a new location in the state’s Grand Island community. Establishment of the new office resulted from community stakeholder requests for additional hospice services in the area, according to the hospice. St. Croix is a subsidiary of the Chicago-based investment firm Vistria […]

Health Experts Propose Alternatives to Using Claims Data for Primary Care First Eligibility

As the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) prepares to launch the Primary Care First Seriously Ill Population payment model in 2020, the agency should consider mining data from the home health care population to identify eligible patients rather than claims data, a group of physicians argue in a recent editorial in Health […]

VITAS VP: Working with Senior Living Pays Off for Hospices

Engaging with senior living operators to provide hospice care in their facilities can provide opportunities to grow patient census and encounter patients earlier in the course of their illness, according to Mark Hayes, vice president of operations in Sumter County, Fla., for VITAS Healthcare, the hospice subsidiary of Chemed Corp. (NYSE: CHE).  VITAS recently opened […]

Court: Difference of Opinion is Not Hospice Fraud

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals partially affirmed a decision in favor of Arkansas-based hospice provider AseraCare in False Claims Act (FCA) case that has widespread implications for the hospice industry. The appellate court agreed with the Northern District of Alabama that a mere difference of physician’s opinions on a terminal patient’s prognosis does not […]

Hospice to OIG: Medication Billing Not So Simple

Federal watchdogs recently called out the hospice industry on medication billing practices on the grounds that Medicare was paying twice for some drugs, but many hospices feel they lack clear direction as to what should be covered as they contend with the inherent complexity of diagnostic processes. Hospices nationwide billed Medicare Part D a combined […]

Hospices Gain from Value-Based Advanced Care Plan Initiatives

As more of the U.S. health care system migrates towards value-based care, efforts on the part of payers and other stakeholders to promote advance care planning could lead to increased hospice utilization as well as earlier admission of prospective patients. Advance care planning is designed to identify patients’ wishes, goals, and desires for their care […]

Co-Location with Home Health Fueling LHC Group Hospice Growth

LHC Group Inc. (NASDAQ: LHCG) plans to aggressively grow its hospice business through mergers and acquisitions and de novos, with a focus on co-locating hospice operations in markets where they already have an established home health presence, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Josh Proffitt told attendees at the Baird 2019 Healthcare Conference in New York. […]

Hospices Engage Virtual Reality in Staff Training

An increasing number of hospice providers are incorporating virtual reality (VR) technology into their staff training. Hospice of Southern Maine is one of those organizations. In 2018, they were approached by Embodied Labs, one of the leading vendors of this technology in the health care space. The idea was to collaborate on a new VR […]

Palliative Physician Questions Dying at Home

Palliative care physician Richard Leiter, M.D., asks whether dying at home — the preference of most people in the United States — should always be the goal for patients at the end of life in a recent New York Times editorial. Leiter’s principal concern is the potential burden on family caregivers when a patient receives […]