HHS Extends COVID Public Health Emergency, Hospice Relief Continues

U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar has signed an order extending the public health emergency stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow regulatory flexibilities for hospice providers and other health care organizations to remain in place from July 25 through Oct. 23. Without this extension, the emergency declaration had been […]

Biden Campaign Releases $450 Million Plan to Boost Home-Based Care

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has released a $450 million plan to boost home- and community-based health care services, including funds to address social determinants of health. The proposal is part of a larger $775 million package that includes additional provisions related to health care, child care and education to be implemented over […]

Forthcoming Legislation Seeks to Delay Medicare Advantage Hospice Carve-In

Legislation will likely be forthcoming in Congress this week or next to delay implementation of the value-based insurance design (VBID) model demonstration project, commonly called the Medicare Advantage hospice carve-in. If enacted, the bill would move the program’s start date to 2023.  Currently, the carve-in is slated to begin Jan. 1, 2021. While hospice industry […]

House Mulls Bill to Extend COVID-19 Telehealth Flexibilities

A bipartisan group within the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced legislation that would extend the use of telehealth flexibilities beyond the federally declared COVID-19 national emergency. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) instituted most of the temporary flexibilities via 1135 waivers.  The legislation addresses the use of telehealth throughout the health […]

CMS to Resume Audits, Medical Reviews in August

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will resume enforcement activities, including targeted probe and education audits, on Aug. 3, regardless of the status of the federally declared COVID-19 national emergency. The agency had suspended audits and medical reviews by Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) as of March 30. Hospice utilization among Medicare decedents […]

Hospice Advocates Pushing for Palliative Care Benefit Amid COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted gaps in the health care system that bring into sharp relief the need for a community-based palliative care benefit, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Representatives of NHPCO have been meeting with the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation and stakeholders on Capitol Hill to move […]

Chief Medical Officer Eric Bush: Hospice Can Gain Through Primary Care First Direct Contracting

Eric Bush, M.D., is a board-certified hospice and palliative medicine physician, joining Hospice of the Chesapeake as chief medical officer in 2016. In this role, Bush provides strategic and leadership direction to the medical staff, which includes physicians and nurse practitioners. Having served first as a licensed practical nurse in the U.S. Army Reserve, a […]

Hope Hospice Settles False Claims Case for $3.2 Million

Florida-based Hope Hospice, a subsidiary of Hope Healthcare,  has settled a False Claims Act case with the U.S. Department of Justice for $3.2 million. The Justice Department alleged that the organization knowingly certified patients for hospice care who were not truly eligible and submitted false claims to Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, which provides insurance to […]

Hospice Providers Wrangle with Barriers to Expanding Advance Care Planning

Hospices, other providers, payers, as well as state and federal agencies are increasingly recognizing the importance of advance care planning to ensure goal-concordant care and reduce health care costs. Barriers in existing public policy are limiting the growth of these services, along with increased strains brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, according to some stakeholders. […]