Congress Tackles Hospice and Palliative Care Staffing Shortage

More patients than ever are seeking hospice and palliative care, and the industry may not have enough trained clinicians to take care of them. To help fill this gap, Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and 285 bipartisan co-sponsors have reintroduced the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (H.R. 647) in the House of […]

Improper CMS Payments to Hospices Top $2.1 Billion in 2018

Medicare made an estimated $2.1 billion in improper fee-for-service payments to hospices during fiscal year 2018, with more than half occurring due to documentation errors, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported. The GAO investigation focused solely on fee-for-service payments and did not examine Medicare’s managed care or outpatient prescription drug programs. Though the overall report […]

West Virginia Law Limits New Hospice Providers

Gov. Jim Justice has signed legislation that could impact the future of hospice care in West Virginia. State Senate Bill 537 establishes a workgroup to review certificate of need regulations that could prevent new hospice providers from opening in the state. A major consideration is the question of thresholds for permitting additional hospice providers in […]

Ohio Law: Inform Patients About Palliative Care

Under a new Ohio law , hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, nursing homes, and other health care organizations in Ohio must develop systems to identify patients or residents who are in need of palliative care and inform them about the benefits and availability of those services. Other provisions in the law allow inpatient hospice providers to […]

Kentucky Passes Law to Expand Palliative Care

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law legislation to expand awareness and utilization of palliative care throughout the state. Kentucky Senate Bill 65 will establish a Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council as well as a Professional Information and Education Program by July 2020. “I’m thrilled that SB 65 has finally passed,” the bill’s sponsor, State […]

Early Hospice Admission Could Save Medicare $2.3 Billion

Enrolling patients in hospice earlier in the course of their terminal illness can reduce Medicare costs by $316 million to $2.43 billion, depending on length of stay and characteristics of the patient population, according to a recent policy brief from the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). About 60 percent of Medicare decedents stay […]

New Guidance for CMS Rules on Hospice, Home-Based Services

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will presume that private residences in which Medicaid recipients receive hospice care and certain other services are in compliance with regulatory criteria for home- and community-based settings. In a letter to state Medicaid directors CMS Administrator Seema Verma issued new regulatory guidance on how CMS will […]

Medicare Advantage Hospice Carve-In: The Bright Side

Despite the legitimate anxieties of many hospice providers about the Medicare Advantage carve-in demonstration in 2021, some have expressed cautious optimism. “The success of Medicare Advantage in achieving better health outcomes for American seniors and people with disabilities highlights the importance of an integrated system,” Allyson Schwartz, president and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance […]

Questions Abound on Medicare Advantage Hospice Carve-In

Hospice providers have many questions and few answers related to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) demonstration of a hospice carve-in for Medicare Advantage plans. CMS earlier this year announced that it would test coverage of the hospice benefit through Medicare Advantage plans beginning in 2021. Through Medicare Advantage, CMS contracts with […]

MEDPAC: For-Profits Account for 100 Percent of New Hospices

For-profit providers are dominating the hospice market. The number of hospice providers in the United States during 2017 rose 2.4 percent, with for-profit providers representing 100 percent of the growth, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC) annual report to Congress. That same year, the number of non-profit hospices declined 3.5 percent. Larger numbers […]