CMS Delays Serious Illness Population Model to April 2021

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is delaying the start of the performance period for the Serious Illness Population payment model, which is part of the agency’s Primary Care First initiative. The program, previously set to begin January 1, will begin April 1, 2021. The Primary Care First general option is still […]

Accreditors Respond to HOSPICE Act

A proposed House bill, Helping Our Senior Population in Comfort Environments (HOSPICE) Act, could increase accreditors and U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) survey frequency from every three years to every other year for hospices. These provisions — and the public reporting of accreditation survey results — could weigh heavily on both accrediting organizations […]

Hospice Advocates: Make COVID-19 Telehealth Flexibilities Permanent

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has called on the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) to permanently extend flexibilities for telehealth that the agency has introduced on a temporary basis during the COVID-19 national emergency. CMS has announced a series of regulatory flexibilities that allow hospices to perform more […]

Congress Members Call on CMS to Delay Hospice Carve-In

Members of the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives have called for a one-year delay for the value-based insurance design model hospice demonstration, commonly called the Medicare Advantage carve-in. Reps. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) sent a letter to Seema Verma, administrator of the U.S. Centers […]

New $3 Trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Could Impact Hospice

Legislation penned by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives could result in additional federal aid to hospices through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund. If enacted, the bill — the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act — would allocate an additional $175 billion to the fund, which […]

CMS Waives Hospice Physical Environment/Life Safety Rules During COVID-19

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to issue 1135 waivers to relax certain Conditions of Participation during the coronavirus pandemic national emergency. The agency has released new waivers pertaining to physical environment and Life Safety Code rules for inpatient hospices. The waived requirements include those related to the frequency and activities […]

Telehealth Rules Complicate Opioid Access for Hospice, Palliative Patients During COVID-19

Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) telemedicine rules are complicating hospice and palliative care patients’ access to necessary medications during the coronavirus pandemic. Some stakeholders have called on regulators to allow the use of audio-only telehealth for patient encounters that involve opioid prescriptions. During the COVID-19 national emergency, the DEA has waived certain requirements to allow providers […]

CMS to Cover Audio-Only Advance Care Planning During Pandemic

Health care providers are able to bill Medicare for advance care planning services conducted via audio-only telehealth consultations on a temporary basis during the COVID-19 national emergency.  Due to provisions in the CARES Act pandemic stimulus package, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has the authority to expand the use of telehealth […]

CMS Issues New 1135 Waivers for Hospice Training,Won’t Pay for Telehealth

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued new 1135 waivers that temporarily release hospices from having to comply with certain requirements related to training. The agency also indicated that for the time being hospices cannot bill CMS for telehealth visits or include those visits on their cost reports.  For the duration […]