The HAN team is deeply appreciative for all of the hospice and palliative care advocates who took action last week by calling, emailing, and messaging their lawmakers via social media regarding the need for a 1135 waiver for hospice and increased funding and availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the provider community.

As of Friday, March 27, nearly 4,000 advocates completed 11,914 advocacy actions. Following these collective efforts, CMS issued a blanket 1135 waiver which includes several provisions for hospice! Hospice-specific waivers include:

  • Waive the requirement for hospices to use volunteers: including the 5% patient care hours.
  • Comprehensive Assessments: extended the time-frames for updating the assessment from 15 to 21 days.
  • Waive Non-Core Services: includes waiver of hospice requirement to provide physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.
  • Waived Onsite Visits for Hospice Aide Supervision: removes the requirement for a nurse to conduct an onsite supervisory visit every two weeks.

In addition to the flexibilities provided by these blanket waivers, CMS also issued an Interim Final Rule providing guidance on the use of telehealth for hospice visits. CMS is allowing telehealth to fulfill face-to-face recertification requirements.

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This global crisis has tested our economy, our healthcare system, and our livelihood. It’s now more important than ever that the hospice and palliative care community stands in solidarity and continues to advocate of the most vulnerable patients.

Messaging in the Legislative Action Center has been revised and will remain open until all of our needs are met or until COVID-19 becomes less of a threat to our community.

Again, thank you to all who participated. Let’s keep up the hard work. Stay safe and keep pushing!