MEDPAC Calls for 20% Cut in Hospice Payment Cap

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC) has recommended to Congress that 2021 per diem payments for hospices remain unchanged from fiscal year 2020 levels and that the aggregate payment cap be reduced by 20%. The commission members voted unanimously on these recommendations at their January meeting. Congress would have to accept these recommendations before they […]

[UPDATED] Senate Bill Would Allow Telehealth for Hospice Face-to-Face Encounters, Pause Sequestration

Provisions of a massive stimulus package currently being debated in the U.S. Senate would allow hospices to use telehealth in lieu of face-to-face encounters as well as temporarily ending the practice of sequestering 2% of hospice payments from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, […]

CMS Issues Emergency Medicaid Waivers in Two States, Hospice Left Out

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the first two state-specific 1135 waivers in Washington state and Florida. This follows a series of blanket waivers applicable to most health providers nationwide in an attempt to reduce administrative burden to allow providers to focus on their response to the coronavirus pandemic. To […]

States Strategize to Improve Palliative Care Quality & Access

Palliative care providers across the nation are working with state lawmakers to reshape and streamline policies that could increase awareness of and access to their services. The very nature of interconnected services involved in palliative care often poses accessibility challenges. Fewer than 5% of patients with serious illnesses who stand to benefit from palliative care […]

Hospice Industry to Congress: “We Need Support”

A coalition of hospice industry groups has written to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asking Congress to take legislative action to help hospices endure the ongoing pandemic and continue to provide care to patients and families.  The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), the National […]

CMS Expands Telehealth for Hospice, Other Providers During COVID-19 Outbreak

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is expanding the use of telehealth to help patients, families and clinicians practice social distancing during the ongoing pandemic. To date, CMS has not confirmed whether hospice physicians will be able to conduct certifications or recertifications using telehealth rather than the currently required face-to-face encounter. CMS […]

CMS Waives Hospice Rules Amid COVID-19 Emergency

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued an 1135 waiver to relax certain rules and conditions of participation (CoPs) for hospices and other health care providers after the White House declared a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Declaration of a national disaster allows the U.S. Secretary of Health […]

Hospice Advocates Ask White House for COVID-19 Disaster Declaration, Waivers for Hospice

Hospice industry groups are calling on the Trump Administration to allow the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to relax hospice regulations in response to the COVID-19 crisis.  The National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) has asked the White House in a letter to declare the pandemic a national disaster, allowing hospices and […]

Hospice CEOs Voice Misgivings on Medicare Advantage

The top executives for companies in the hospice space have expressed serious concerns about the forthcoming inclusion of hospice in Medicare’s value-based insurance design model, often called the Medicare Advantage hospice carve-in. Through Medicare Advantage, CMS contracts with private insurance companies to provide coverage for Medicare beneficiaries. CMS earlier this year announced that it would […]

CMS Issues COVID-19 Prevention Guidance for Hospices

The U.S. Centers for Health & Human Services (CMS) has issued guidelines for protecting health care workers who operate in the home and community from COVID-19, including hospice providers.  The CMS materials contain guidance for screening for and treatment of the virus in addition to when patients should be transitioned to higher acuity care. The […]