Regulators Work to Strengthen Hospice Oversight

Congress is moving to give the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) more authority to crack down on quality problems six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) criticized the agency in two reports for not more closely enforcing hospice regulations. Meanwhile, CMS is […]

HOSPICE Act Would Increase Survey Frequency, Redesign Surveyor Training

Recently introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives calls for increasing the frequency of hospice compliance surveys to every two years as opposed to the current policy of every three years. Among other provisions, the bill would also take steps to improve surveyor education and training. Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) […]

Ohio Allows Hospices to Provide Inpatient Palliative Care

New rules in the state of Ohio will allow hospices to admit non-hospice palliative care patients into their inpatient facilities on a short-term basis when medically necessary. About half of the community-based palliative care providers in the United States are hospices, according to recent research from the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). CAPC developed […]

Congress to Tackle Hospice Quality in New Legislation

Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) have introduced bipartisan legislation designed to strengthen regulatory oversight of hospice providers in the wake of two July 2019 reports from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG). The reports garnered widespread media attention and elicited strong reactions from hospice organizations. […]

Accessing Hospice PEPPER Reports Can Help Avoid Audits

Hospices who understand and consider their Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Reports (PEPPER) from their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) can leverage that information to anticipate and correct payment issues that could lead to targeted probe and education (TPE) audits if left unaddressed.  PEPPER contains provider-specific Medicare claims data that may indicate or create the […]

Work Advancing on CMS Hospice Outcomes & Patient Evaluation Tool

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is currently recruiting hospice providers to participate in a pilot test of the forthcoming Hospice Outcomes & Patient Evaluation (HOPE) tool, which when completed will replace the Hospice Item Set (HIS) quality reporting system. According to CMS, hospices will use the tool to assess patients in […]

CMS Wraps Hospice Compare into New Quality Reporting Site

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is combining the eight separate “Compare” websites that display publicly reported quality information into a single resource to be called Medicare Care Compare. The agency expects to launch the new website later this year. This move will apply to hospice organizations as well as hospitals, nursing […]

New Jersey Legislation to Expand Hospice and Palliative Care

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) recently signed into law a piece of legislation designed to raise public awareness of hospice and palliative care. The state’s legislature is currently mulling two additional bills intended to boost awareness and utilization of those services. The new law, designated S-3118, requires the state’s Commissioner of Health to establish […]

MedPAC: No 2021 Pay Raise for Hospice, Calls for Payment Cap Cut

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) at its January meeting unanimously voted to recommend to Congress that no Medicare payment increases for hospices be implemented in Fiscal Year 2021, as well as a 20% reduction in the aggregate payment cap. These proposals are not a done deal. Congress would have to accept these recommendations before […]

Medicare Advantage Plans Offering Palliative Care Quadrupled for 2020

A rising number of Medicare Advantage plans are offering home-based palliative care as a supplemental benefit. This year, 61 plans offer a palliative care benefit compared to 15 during 2019, a new Duke University report indicates. Hospices provide about 50% of home-based palliative care in the United States according to the Center to Advance Palliative […]