Hospice Groups: CMS Should Reconsider Payment Rate Calculation Methods

The proposed Medicare reimbursement rate hikes for some levels of hospice care is a positive move, according to comments on the 2020 proposed rule submitted to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) by hospice industry organizations, but they also voiced concerns regarding how those rates are calculated as well as the potential […]

New Legislation to Make Palliative Care Eligible for National Health Service Corps

Bipartisan Congressional efforts to expand palliative care utilization and combat ongoing staffing shortages are proceeding apace with the introduction of the Provider Training in Palliative Care Act by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The bill would make palliative care medicine an eligible primary care service under the National Health Service Corps […]

CAPC’s Meier: U.S. Needs National Strategy for Palliative Care

The federal government should work with stakeholders to develop a national strategy for palliative care, similar to those developed to combat smoking, H.I.V., the opioid epidemic and pandemic influenza, according to Diane Meier, M.D., director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care. A national strategy would bring together government agencies, health care organizations, the private […]

CMS Shares New Details on Hospice HEART Tool

The U.S Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) intends a forthcoming quality reporting tool to inform patient care planning, initial assessments and periodic reassessments, the agency told Hospice News. The agency is in the process of developing the Hospice Evaluation and Assessment Reporting Tool (HEART), a mandatory new comprehensive quality reporting tool that will replace […]

Dual Payment Model for Long Term Care Hospitals Could Boost Hospice Use

A dual payment model designed for long term care hospitals (LTCH) could increase hospice and other post-acute care service utilization rates, according to a report from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC). The Pathway for [Sustainable Growth Rate] Reform Act of 2013 overhauled the payment structure for long term care hospitals. According to the new […]

Congress Authorizes Hospices to Dispose of Opioids

A federal law recently approved by Congress gives hospice nurses and licensed independent practitioners authorization to dispose of unused opioid medications at the site of care following a patient’s death. The Substance Use–Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act is part of the federal government’s strategy to stem […]

State Governments Working to Jump Start Palliative Care

Efforts by individual states to expand palliative care awareness and utilization foreshadow a national trend, with multiple states passing laws or mulling legislation during 2018 and 2019. This comes a time when hospices are increasingly diversifying their services to include palliative care. This year, Ohio passed a law requiring hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, nursing homes, […]

Hospices Use Self-Audits to Prepare for CMS Survey

As regulators place increasing scrutiny on hospice providers, many are using a self-audit process to make sure they are ready when surveyors or auditors come knocking. Increased spending due to rising hospice utilization have increasingly led regulators to focus their attention on hospice providers, including the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) and […]

South Carolina Law Allows Physician Assistants to Refer Patients to Hospice

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), has signed legislation expanding the scope of practice for physician assistants in that state, including granting them authority to refer patients to hospice. The law will become effective Aug. 11. The new law also streamlines the licensure process to ensure that trained physician assistants can get to work more […]