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Two Hospice Updates

Proposed Rule for FY 2017 Medicare Hospice Benefit

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule last week (CMS-1652-P) that would update the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Medicare payment rates and the wage index for hospices serving Medicare beneficiaries. CMS has proposed increasing Medicare payments for hospices by 2 percent or $330M for the FY 2017.

According to the CMS Fact Sheet, “This proposed rule would update the hospice wage index, payment rates, and cap amount for FY 2017. In addition, this rule would propose changes to the hospice quality reporting program, including proposing new quality measures. The proposed rule also solicits feedback on an enhanced data collection instrument and describes plans to publicly display quality measures and other hospice data beginning in the middle of 2017. Finally, this rule updates hospice monitoring data analysis and provides discussion about ongoing monitoring efforts.”

The new rule updates data analysis regarding hospice utilization trends, provider behavior and two new hospice quality measures: Hospice Visits When Death is Imminent and Hospice and Palliative Care Composite Process Measure. The first measure will assess hospice staff visits to patients and caregivers in the last week of a patient’s life. The second measure, Palliative Care Composite Process Measure, will assess the percentage of hospice patients who received care processes consistent with current guidelines. The enhanced data collection instrument will be more in-line with other post-acute settings.

Many of the new Quality Reporting Programs that are being implemented are a result of implementing the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act, which was passed in 2014. CMS will continue to increase reporting requirements for post-acute providers over the next several years as outlined by the legislation.

The $330M will update the hospice cap, payment rates and the hospice wage index. Since 2014, hospices that fail to meet new quality reporting requirements will see their payments drop 2 percent. The proposal increases the hospice cap to $28,377.17 in 2017, up from $27,820.75 in 2016. The new payment cap would begin Oct. 1, 2016 and end Sept. 20, 2017.

This rule also shares information on the Medicare Care Choices Model developed to test innovative payment and service models.

Public comments on the proposal will be accepted until 5 p.m. on June 20, 2016. There are several ways to submit your comments which include electronically at http://www.regulations.gov  (follow the "Submit a comment" instructions) or by mail to: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: CMS -1652-P, P.O. Box 8010, Baltimore, MD 21244-8010.

Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP) Provider Training Webinar

Registration is now open for the HQRP provider training webinar. This webinar is intended for providers who submit data for the Hospice Item Set (HIS) to CMS.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, providers are required to submit at least 70 percent of all HIS records within 30 days of the event date and meet Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) reporting requirements .

This interactive webinar will detail HQRP submission requirements including the HIS-related and Hospice CAHPS requirements, provide useful insights into how to download and use the Hospice Final Validation Reports and other Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reports available to providers, and assist providers to understand how to interpret error messages and correct errors. It will also include a live demonstration of the Quality Improvement and Evaluation System Assessment Submission and Processing system and the opportunity for participants to ask questions.

To register, visit https://secure.confertel.net/tsRegister.asp?course=6962803.  Register early, space is limited to 500 registrants.

Contact: Cheryl Udell, cudell@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8871