CMS, CDC Update Nursing Home Visit Guidelines for Hospices, Other Visitors

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have revised their previous guidance for visitors accessing nursing homes, including service providers such as hospices. The availability of vaccines was a key factor in the update.  The agencies now indicate that facilities can allow ”responsible […]

COVID-19 Stimulus Passes with Support for Rural Hospices, but No Additional PRF

The American Rescue Plan of 2021 has cleared its last congressional hurdle before going to President Biden for signature. The $1.9 trillion stimulus package contains $8.5 billion in aid targeted at rural providers, including hospices. However, the bill did not increase the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) or extend the moratorium on payment sequestration.  The U.S […]

LeadingAge Expands Hospice Reach with VNAA, ElevatingHome Affiliation

Senior care association LeadingAge has completed its affiliation with the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) and its offshoot organization, ElevatingHOME. This move expands LeadingAge’s reach into the home health and hospice sectors. The groups announced their intent to merge in Feb 2019. In the interim the organizations have undergone a transition period in which […]

Omnibus Federal Spending Bill Contains Major Hospice Provisions

After much debate, the U.S. Congress approved Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which will keep the government running and fund federal agencies into the new year. The bill, which the president is expected to sign, includes hospice-specific line items intended to improve rural access to services and retool regulatory enforcement, as well as provide COVID-19 […]

House Approves Bill to Update CMS Hospice Oversight

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification Act of 2019 (BENES). While the main focus of that bill relates to Medicare eligibility and enrollment, it would also change the frequency of regulatory hospice surveys to every two years instead of every three years, among other provisions. The legislation […]

CMS Boosts Funds for Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has allocated an additional $165 million to states that participate in the agency’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program, which is designed to help Medicaid recipients transition from receiving care in nursing homes to home- and community-based services.  Currently 33 states and the District of Columbia participate […]

Hospice Respite Care Relief Bill Introduced in the House

Reps. Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) and Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) introduced the COVID-19 Hospice Respite Care Relief Act for consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate has been mulling similar legislation since early August.  If enacted the bill would allow hospice patients to receive respite care in their homes as opposed to an inpatient […]

Senate Bill Would Boost Hospice Respite Care During COVID-19

U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) have introduced new legislation that would allow hospice patients to receive respite care in their homes during a national emergency, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would also extend the allowable length of stay to 15 days, up from the current limit of […]

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 […]

Congress Members Call on CMS to Delay Hospice Carve-In

Members of the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives have called for a one-year delay for the value-based insurance design model hospice demonstration, commonly called the Medicare Advantage carve-in. Reps. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) sent a letter to Seema Verma, administrator of the U.S. Centers […]