[UPDATED] President Signs Stimulus Bill, Allowing Telehealth for Hospice Recertification

President Donald Trump has signed into law a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. Among numerous other provisions, the massive bill will allow hospice providers to conduct face-to-face recertification visits via telehealth and suspend the practice of 2% sequestration of hospice payments by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & […]

Hospice Coalition Calls on FEMA for More PPE During Pandemic

A coalition of hospice industry groups have called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to prioritize hospice when distributing personal protective equipment to health care organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Signatories on the letter included the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), the Council of State Home Care & Hospice Associations, the […]

Senate Approves Stimulus Package with Relief for Hospices

After days of tense negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, the U.S. Senate has passed a $2 trillion bill designed to boost the national economy during the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation contains language that would allow hospice providers to perform face-to-face encounters via telehealth as well as a suspension of payment sequestration. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, […]

[UPDATED] FEMA to Distribute PPE Supplies Hospices Need, but Hospitals Taking Priority

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is distributing N95 and surgical masks and other supplies to health care organizations in states hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, including New York and Washington. However, it remains unclear whether hospices will have access to these supplies or if they are being sent primarily to hospitals. Hospices […]

CMS Relaxes Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements During Outbreak

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is forestalling quality reporting requirements for providers participating in Medicare, including the Hospice Item Data Set (HIS) and the Consumer Assessment and Perception of Health Care Provider and Services (CAPHS) surveys. Hospices are not required to submit CAHPS survey data from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, […]

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 […]