Hospice Advocates Push for CMS to Delay Medicare Advantage Carve-In

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Association (NHPCO) has called on the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay the start of the Medicare Advantage hospice carve-in demonstration beyond its current expected state date of January 2021. CMS earlier this year announced that it would test coverage of hospice care through Medicare […]

California’s Palliative Care Rule a Potential Foundation for National Model

As stakeholders call for a dedicated Medicare benefit for the growing field of community-based palliative care, one government-led payment model is going strong in California through Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. Effective Jan. 2018, the state’s Senate Bill 1004 (SB 1004), requires Medi-Cal managed care plans to cover palliative care for patients suffering from cancer, […]

MEDPAC Calls for 20% Cut in Hospice Payment Cap

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC) intends to recommend a 20% reduction to hospice aggregate payment cap, according to a presentation given at the commission’s most recent meeting. This echoes similar recommendations from the commission in prior years. Though MEDPAC has urged lawmakers to pursue these cuts several years running, Congress has yet to slash […]

Hospices Can Now Apply to Primary Care First Direct Contracting Models

Hospice and palliative care providers may now apply to participate in the direct contracting payment models that exist under the auspices of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Primary Care First Initiative. The direct contracting options include three voluntary payment models that are designed to help CMS and health care providers reduce […]

OIG: Hospice Nurses Failed to Assess Aides in 99,000 Cases

Hospice nurses did not perform a home visit to assess the quality of care provided by hospice aides in an estimated 99,000 instances during 2016, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In another 5,000 cases the visits were not documented properly.  […]

For-Profit Hospices See More Live Discharges than Nonprofits

Live discharges from hospice, which often attract the attention of regulators, are more common among for-profit hospices than nonprofits, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found. For-profits were also less likely to visit patients during the last three days of life. GAO reported that in 2017 more than 22% of Medicare beneficiaries who enrolled in […]

CMS to Allow Hospices to Accept Medication Orders from Physician Assistants

In a new final rule, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will permit physician assistants to send medication orders to hospices. Previously, only orders from physicians or nurse practitioners were acceptable. The rule becomes effective Jan. 1., 2020. Hospices can accept the orders from physician assistants as long as the PA is […]

Senators Introduce Bill on Hospice Quality, Transparency

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) have introduced a new bill, the Hospice Care Improvement Act, in response to the July reports on hospice quality from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If enacted, the legislation would implement new rules for oversight […]

Senator Rosen: Remove Barriers to Hospice, Palliative Care

Stakeholders in the hospice space must work with policymakers to remove barriers that complicate patients’ access to care, according to Sen. Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.) — including the requirement for a six-month terminal prognosis. Rosen made the comments at the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization Interdisciplinary Conference in Orlando, Fla. “I know all too well […]