Advocacy in Washington, DC is an ever-increasing, specialized endeavor. Health care, federal spending and public policy are influenced by a broad range of issues that have evolved significantly in the more than 30 years since the Medicare Hospice Benefit was enacted. It’s critically important that Hospice Advocates work aggressively to stay ahead of the curve by engaging proactively on the legislative issues facing hospice.

Click the links below for more information on legislative issues that impact hospice.

Hospice Reimbursement. More than 90% of hospice services are delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. Because hospices are so dependent on Medicare, what happens here in D.C. is of great interest and concern to the hospice community. (Read more…)

Medicare Advantage and Hospice. In their March 2014 report to Congress, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommended that Medicare Advantage (MA) plans assume both the clinical management and financial responsibility of the hospice benefit (hospice would be ‘carved in’ to Medicare Advantage Plans). This proposal is rooted in an effort to promote coordination of care management between MA plans and hospices. This is a departure from the current system, where once a patient enrolls in hospice care, the financial responsibility for patient care shifts to Original Medicare (thus hospice is ‘carved out’ of Medicare Advantage). (Read more…)

Hospice Program Integrity. The Hospice Action Network believes that the only hospices that should be in business are those who are providing excellent patient care and complying with federal regulations. HAN applauds the passage of the 2014 IMPACT Act, which strengthens program integrity measures for hospice programs, including more frequent surveys of hospice providers. (Read more…)

Part D and Hospice. In June of 2012, the OIG released a report regarding the intersection of Hospice and Medicare Part D. Since 2010, NHPCO has been in active conversations about this issue, and no one can doubt that the issuance of the OIG report began a significant dialogue between CMS and NHPCO. The issue has also raised many questions among providers. NHPCO and HAN have put together this interactive timeline to lay out the important dates, actions and compliance deadlines issued by CMS, NHPCO and Congress, as well as compliance deadlines issued by CMS. (Read more…)