Congress Authorizes Hospices to Dispose of Opioids

A federal law recently approved by Congress gives hospice nurses and licensed independent practitioners authorization to dispose of unused opioid medications at the site of care following a patient’s death. The Substance Use–Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act is part of the federal government’s strategy to stem […]

State Governments Working to Jump Start Palliative Care

Efforts by individual states to expand palliative care awareness and utilization foreshadow a national trend, with multiple states passing laws or mulling legislation during 2018 and 2019. This comes a time when hospices are increasingly diversifying their services to include palliative care. This year, Ohio passed a law requiring hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, nursing homes, […]

Hospices Use Self-Audits to Prepare for CMS Survey

As regulators place increasing scrutiny on hospice providers, many are using a self-audit process to make sure they are ready when surveyors or auditors come knocking. Increased spending due to rising hospice utilization have increasingly led regulators to focus their attention on hospice providers, including the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) and […]

South Carolina Law Allows Physician Assistants to Refer Patients to Hospice

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), has signed legislation expanding the scope of practice for physician assistants in that state, including granting them authority to refer patients to hospice. The law will become effective Aug. 11. The new law also streamlines the licensure process to ensure that trained physician assistants can get to work more […]

CMS Proposed Rule Could Hurt Small Hospice Providers, Large Companies Unfazed 

National and regional hospice chains seem unfazed by proposed Medicare payment rebasing for fiscal year 2020—confident that the updates will not adversely affect their businesses—though smaller organizations may take a more significant hit. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in late April released its annual proposed rule that outlines the agency’s regulatory […]

Hospices Lose Money Under 2020 Proposed Rule

Despite rate increases for some care levels, hospices would lose a dollar per patient, per day of routine home care under the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Fiscal Year 2020 proposed rule. The agency has proposed a 2.7 percent cut in payments to hospice providers for routine home care. Corresponding 2.7 percent […]

Hospices Eligible for New CMS Primary Care Payment Models

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has unveiled a set of voluntary five-year payment models under a program called Primary Care First. Though today’s announcement focused on primary care, hospices and palliative care providers will be able to participate in the new models, according to the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), […]

CMS to Change Hospice Election Statement for 2020

Hospices in Fiscal Year 2020 would be required to provide an election statement addendum upon request from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), if the agency makes final provisions in a recently proposed rule. If the agency were to request such an addendum from a hospice, submission of that document would become […]

Medicare Hospice Payments to Rise in 2020 for Some Services

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) intends to raise hospice payment rates for certain levels of care by 2.7 percent for Fiscal Year 2020, according to a proposed rule that outlines the agency’s regulatory priorities for hospice in the coming year. The increases apply to continuous home care, inpatient care, and inpatient […]

Bill Would Streamline Medicare Advantage Prior Authorizations

As hospices ready themselves for a Medicare Advantage (MA) carve-in, U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wa.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) plan to introduce a bill to reduce regulatory burdens associated with the prior authorization process, a legislative aide from DelBene’s office told Hospice News. Though the bill text is not yet complete, the co-sponsors are basing […]