Medicare Advantage Hospice Carve-In Starting Small in 2021 

The demonstration project to test inclusion of hospice in the value-based insurance design model — often called the Medicare Advantage hospice carve-in — will be a small program in its first year. The 53 participating Medicare Advantage plans cover 8% the market and a limited geographic footprint, according to data from the U.S. Centers for […]

53 Medicare Advantage Plans to Offer Hospice in 2021, Palliative Care to Grow

Among Medicare Advantage plans, 53 will be covering hospice and palliative care in 2021 through the value-based insurance design (VBID) model, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicare Advantage is seeing record-high levels of participation for 2021 among beneficiaries, reaching about 42% for 2021, CMS reported. Starting in 2021, payers […]

HHS Shipping 2.6 Million COVID Tests, Includes Share for Hospice

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is in the process of distributing 2.6 million COVID-19 testing kits to organizations that serve vulnerable populations, including hospice providers. In addition to hospices, the department is also sending a portion of those tests to assisted living facilities, nursing homes and home health organizations. Many providers […]

More than 60 Organizations Call for Medicare Palliative Care Demo

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and congressional leaders have received letters with signatures from more than 60 health care and senior citizen advocacy groups calling for a demonstration to test a community-based palliative care benefit program within Medicare. Organizations such as the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), the National […]

CMS Boosts Funds for Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has allocated an additional $165 million to states that participate in the agency’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program, which is designed to help Medicaid recipients transition from receiving care in nursing homes to home- and community-based services.  Currently 33 states and the District of Columbia participate […]

Hospice Respite Care Relief Bill Introduced in the House

Reps. Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) and Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) introduced the COVID-19 Hospice Respite Care Relief Act for consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate has been mulling similar legislation since early August.  If enacted the bill would allow hospice patients to receive respite care in their homes as opposed to an inpatient […]

NHPCO to HHS: Hospices Need Aid for COVID Testing

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) has asked U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to provide aid to providers for COVID-19 testing. The federal government and some states are increasingly instituting mandatory testing rules that apply to health care workers. NHPCO has previously called for the allocation of $500 million […]

New Hospice Investigations, Audits Forthcoming from OIG

More than a year after two major hospice reports, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) continues to look hard at the industry to address concerns ranging from billing and claims to patient safety.  Reports are forthcoming from OIG that address the ways that the hospice inpatient aggregate […]

CMS Rolls Hospice Compare Into New Site

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has unveiled its online Care Compare tool that redesigns the agency’s eight quality reporting sites into a single resource, including Hospice Compare. CMS “Compare” websites are intended to aid Medicare beneficiaries in choosing a health care provider based on publicly reported quality data, among other information. […]

CMS to Require COVID Tests for Hospice Staff Visiting Nursing Homes

Hospice staff visiting patients in nursing homes must undergo testing for COVID-19 at a frequency determined by the prevalence of the virus in their location. This is required under an interim final rule from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). While the final rule pertains specifically to nursing homes, it applies to […]