Finance & Enjoyment Blog

Hospice Care Changes are Coming!

Due to health care legislation passed recently there will be several new changes within hospice care.

One of these changes will be in the quality data requirements. Currently there are no uniform standards within the hospice care industry on what quality data should be reported.  This will soon change as the Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services has been tasked to come up with quality measures that all hospices will be required to report or risk facing a 2% decrease in their reimbursement basket increase. This reporting is to begin in 2014 according to the new legislation. Also, due to the need for uniform data about hospice providers, and the care they provide, it is expected that the Secretary for the DHHS will require additional information from hospice providers in order to make accurate adjustments for hospice payments. What this information will look like is still unknown, but will hopefully become available soon.

The largest of the changes within this industry will begin in this coming year will be a new requirement for all hospice patients to have a face to face encounter with either a physician or nurse practitioner every 180 days to determine the status of their terminal illness to determine whether they  should still be under hospice care.

However, this does not mean that after 180 days payments for hospice care will cease, rather it is meant to verify the need for hospice care. Additionally, any hospice center with a high percentage of their patients staying under hospice care for an additional 180 day period will likely face stricter review to ensure that the cases are not fraudulent.

However, the percentage that will be used to determine this is still unknown. This change will unfortunately add additional costs for hospice cares as they must increase the amount of data they maintain in order to meet the reporting standards as well as the increased need for face to face contact with patients. Hospices may want to begin to budget for these additional costs so that when these changes come about they are prepared.

If you have any questions regarding these issues feel free to contact us at 303-815-1100 so that we may help your business become ready for the many Healthcare changes which are  coming.


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