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, […]

Senators Introduce Bill on Hospice Quality, Transparency

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) have introduced a new bill, the Hospice Care Improvement Act, in response to the July reports on hospice quality from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If enacted, the legislation would implement new rules for oversight […]

Hospice Physician Timothy Ihrig: MA Carve-in May Hurt Quality

Hospice and palliative care physician Timothy Ihrig, M.D., is chief medical officer of Crossroads Hospice and has served in that role since 2018. He speaks nationally on policy, clinical and economic issues that impact hospice and palliative care providers and their patients.  Crossroads provides hospice and palliative care to approximately 1 million patients annually in […]

Senator Rosen: Remove Barriers to Hospice, Palliative Care

Stakeholders in the hospice space must work with policymakers to remove barriers that complicate patients’ access to care, according to Sen. Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.) — including the requirement for a six-month terminal prognosis. Rosen made the comments at the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization Interdisciplinary Conference in Orlando, Fla. “I know all too well […]

CMS Outlines Patient On-boarding in New Serious Illness Payment Model

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has unveiled its process for identifying and on-boarding patients who are eligible for coverage under the Seriously Ill Population (SIP) payment model, part of the Primary Care First initiative. However, hospice organizations continue to seek additional answers about the workings of the model. CMS in April […]

House Approves Hospice Education Act

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), according to the office of Rep. Eliot Engels (D-N.Y.). The bill, which Engels introduced in January, had 294 bipartisan cosponsors. If enacted, PCHETA would establish fellowship programs within new palliative care and hospice education centers to provide short-term, […]

CMS Delays Primary Care First Implementation to 2021

Though the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is now accepting applications to participate in the agency’s new Primary Care First payment models, the agency has delayed the program’s launch to 2021, as opposed to the original Jan. 1, 2020 date. CMS moved the start date to allow stakeholders more time to consider participation, […]

Home-Based Primary Care May Be Hospices’ Next Frontier

As hospices seek new ways to engage patients further upstream, a rising number are diversifying their services to include home-based primary care, along with palliative care and other care models. Evidence indicates that these primary care programs carry substantial benefits for patients and families and can have a significant positive impact on a hospice’s bottom […]

Hospice Industry Seeks Solutions to Issues in OIG Reports

Debate continues about how the hospice industry, as well as regulators, should respond to the reports on hospice care issued in July by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that included recommendations to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on changing their processes for […]