CMS Proposes 2.6% Pay Raise for Hospice in 2021

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed a rule that would determine hospice payment rates, payment caps and the wage index for fiscal year 2021. The agency has proposed a 2.6% payment adjustment, totaling an additional $580 million for the Medicare Hospice Benefit. The proposed rule would also raise the annual payment […]

Hospice Providers to Receive Nearly $1 Billion in CARES Act Funds

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has begun distributing the first $30 billion installment of public health funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also called the CARES ACT. An estimated $1 billion is expected to go to hospice and palliative care providers via direct deposit. The CARES Act, enacted […]

Fourth COVID-19 Stimulus Bill May Be Coming, Hospices Need Further Aid

Federal lawmakers have been sparring this week over a potential fourth legislative package to bolster the economy and the health care system amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Many in the hospice space have their fingers crossed that a bill will come together and bring further financial and regulatory relief.  The White House and congressional leaders […]

Hospices Can’t Use Telehealth for SIA Claims During Pandemic

Hospice providers cannot use telehealth visits to qualify for service intensity add-on payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in recent days has announced a series of new flexibilities that allow hospices to perform more functions via telehealth than were previously allowed. The recent $2.2 trillion CARES Act […]

New Jersey Would Include End-of-Life Wishes on Drivers’ Licenses

Sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr. (D-Burlington), a new bill before the New Jersey state legislature would establish a Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (or POLST) Form Registry in the state of New Jersey. The bill would give residents the option to voluntarily register their end-of-life health care wishes through the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) […]

Hospices Seek Aid As Most CARES Act Funds Go to Hospitals

While the federal government is making billions of dollars available to health care providers through the CARES Act and other programs, the lion’s share of those funds and equipment is going to hospitals, often leaving providers in other settings out in the cold, including hospice.  Hospitals nationwide unquestionably are taking a tremendous hit due to the […]

Hospices Need More from Regulators During COVID-19 Crisis

Congress and the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have offered a number regulatory flexibilities to hospice providers during the novel coronavirus pandemic through legislation and through emergency waivers. While providers and other stakeholders embrace these changes as positive and necessary steps, hospices may need additional federal support that to date they haven’t […]

CMS Waives Hospice Rules During Pandemic, Further Expands Telehealth

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has waived a number of hospice regulations, including temporarily removing the requirement that a nurse conduct a home visit at least every two weeks and expanding the allowable use of telehealth. These flexibilities for hospice are components of a larger initiative intended to reduce regulatory burden […]

Older Americans Act Reauthorized with Funds for Hospice Family Caregivers, Social Determinants

Though somewhat overshadowed by the COVID-19 crisis, Congress has reauthorized the Older Americans Act, which provides funds to services for seniors, including those designed to help them age in place. Some provisions of the act allocate dollars to community-based programs that provide meals, transportation and other social determinants of health, allowing seniors to remain in […]

CMS Accelerates Medicare Payments During COVID-19, Including Hospice

In an effort to counter widespread disruption in the health care space due to the ongoing pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is expanding its accelerated and advance payment program for all Medicare Part A and Part B providers and suppliers. The program, typically implemented during natural disasters or other catastrophic […]