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 […]

CMS Outlines Patient On-boarding in New Serious Illness Payment Model

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has unveiled its process for identifying and on-boarding patients who are eligible for coverage under the Seriously Ill Population (SIP) payment model, part of the Primary Care First initiative. However, hospice organizations continue to seek additional answers about the workings of the model. CMS in April […]

Bill Would Allow Hospice Recertification Via Telehealth

A bipartisan group of congressional legislators have introduced corresponding bills in the House and the Senate that would allow hospice physicians to re-certify patients via telehealth systems, among other provisions. Current Medicare Conditions of Participation require a hospice physician to meet with a patient face-to-face as part of the recertification process that initiates after the […]

House Approves Hospice Education Act

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), according to the office of Rep. Eliot Engels (D-N.Y.). The bill, which Engels introduced in January, had 294 bipartisan cosponsors. If enacted, PCHETA would establish fellowship programs within new palliative care and hospice education centers to provide short-term, […]

CMS Delays Primary Care First Implementation to 2021

Though the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is now accepting applications to participate in the agency’s new Primary Care First payment models, the agency has delayed the program’s launch to 2021, as opposed to the original Jan. 1, 2020 date. CMS moved the start date to allow stakeholders more time to consider participation, […]

CMS: Hospices Can Now Apply to Primary Care First

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has opened the online application period for the Primary Care First payment models. The agency announced the program in April and will implement the models in phases beginning in January 2021, initially in 26 regions throughout the United States. Hospices and palliative care organizations are eligible […]