MedPAC: No 2021 Pay Raise for Hospice, Calls for Payment Cap Cut

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) at its January meeting unanimously voted to recommend to Congress that no Medicare payment increases for hospices be implemented in Fiscal Year 2021, as well as a 20% reduction in the aggregate payment cap. These proposals are not a done deal. Congress would have to accept these recommendations before […]

Palliative Care Growth a 2020 Priority

The palliative care field can expect to see continued growth during 2020 despite the lack of a dedicated Medicare payment model, a continued need to raise public awareness, and ongoing staffing shortages.  About half of the community-based palliative care providers in the United States are hospices, according to recent research from the Center to Advance […]

CMS Accepting Applications for Medicare Advantage Hospice Carve-In

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a Request For Applications (RFAs) for Medicare Advantage plans to offer the Medicare Hospice benefit to their enrollees in the Medicare Advantage Value Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model. The long awaited and much debated Medicare Advantage hospice carve-in demonstration is set to begin Jan. […]

Looking Ahead: Hospice in 2020

The hospice space is evolving and providers will likely spend much of 2020 girding themselves for more change, including movement towards value-based payment models, accelerating industry consolidation, and possible changes to reimbursement, among others. At the forefront of many hospice leaders’ minds will be how they should gear up for the Medicare Advantage hospice carve-in […]

Hospice Advocates Push for CMS to Delay Medicare Advantage Carve-In

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Association (NHPCO) has called on the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay the start of the Medicare Advantage hospice carve-in demonstration beyond its current expected state date of January 2021. CMS earlier this year announced that it would test coverage of hospice care through Medicare […]

California’s Palliative Care Rule a Potential Foundation for National Model

As stakeholders call for a dedicated Medicare benefit for the growing field of community-based palliative care, one government-led payment model is going strong in California through Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. Effective Jan. 2018, the state’s Senate Bill 1004 (SB 1004), requires Medi-Cal managed care plans to cover palliative care for patients suffering from cancer, […]

MEDPAC Calls for 20% Cut in Hospice Payment Cap

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC) intends to recommend a 20% reduction to hospice aggregate payment cap, according to a presentation given at the commission’s most recent meeting. This echoes similar recommendations from the commission in prior years. Though MEDPAC has urged lawmakers to pursue these cuts several years running, Congress has yet to slash […]

OIG: Hospice Nurses Failed to Assess Aides in 99,000 Cases

Hospice nurses did not perform a home visit to assess the quality of care provided by hospice aides in an estimated 99,000 instances during 2016, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In another 5,000 cases the visits were not documented properly.  […]

CMS to Allow Hospices to Accept Medication Orders from Physician Assistants

In a new final rule, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will permit physician assistants to send medication orders to hospices. Previously, only orders from physicians or nurse practitioners were acceptable. The rule becomes effective Jan. 1., 2020. Hospices can accept the orders from physician assistants as long as the PA is […]

Hospices Design Programs for Unique Needs of Military Veterans

As U.S. veterans age with the general population, hospices nationwide are designing programs and engaging in partnerships designed to meet the unique medical, psychological and emotional needs of veterans during the end of life. Roughly 18.2 million military veterans live in the United States, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, […]