Healthcare workers are continually challenged to remain compliant with the ever changing regulations that impact the services they provide, but it seems the hospice industry has been particularly impacted by new regs and changes in the recent year that are now going into effect.
Final Rule 2018…And More!
In early August, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its FY 2018 payment and quality reporting final rule. The Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update and Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements are effective October 1, 2017. In addition to the yearly updates, this final rule includes new survey measures that hospices must give to families and patients so they can compare facilities. The new Hospice Compare website is a game-changer: Is your facility ready?
Delivering top quality care has never been so important. Under the new final rule, “hospices that fail to meet quality reporting requirements receive a 2 percentage point reduction to their payments.” Emergency preparedness requirements, Hospice Item Set (HIS) changes, the availability of the Second Annual Medicare Hospice Utilization and Payment Public Use File (PUF), and new Medicare card changes are also on the horizon.
Here’s a roundup of all the new regs that are impacting hospice providers:
- See CMS’s fact sheet on the 2018 quality reporting and payments final rule.
- The most recent HIS updates and Q&As can be found here.
- Information on the CAHPS Hospice Survey is here.
- CMS’s emergency preparedness requirements go into effect Nov. 15, 2017.
- New Medicare cards will go into effect next year.
- Recent info on the PUF can be found here.
Hospice personnel, directors, clinical supervisors, patient care coordinators, quality improvement personnel, compliance officers and clinical staff, there’s more on your plate than navigating families through a deeply personal, grievous time. Now more than ever before, you and your staff need to stay up to date on regulatory changes that impact the provision of hospice services under the Medicare program to ensure that you’re meeting current requirements and are able to serve your patients effectively.
Congress is also targeting hospice. Did you know a bill proposed earlier in 2017 would allow physician assistants to provide hospice care under Medicare? Another bill proposes a model for using palliative care earlier in the treatment of Medicare beneficiaries. And a 2016 bill that would allow Medicare to pay for services to hospice patients by rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers is still on the table.
Hospice personnel need to remain informed and knowledgeable about legislative changes that are being considered or developed that will impact the provision of care under the Medicare hospice benefit so that they can make their opinions known, advocate for their patients and families and influence any potential changes to the program.
Get Prepared for the New Changes
Expert speaker and approved ICD-10-CM trainer Judy Adams addresses the latest regulatory issues in an audio conference for ProfEdOnDemand, “2018 Hospice Regulatory Changes.” Judy provides a summary of the regulatory changes for hospice that happened in 2017 as well as upcoming changes for 2018. While we may not know what’s in store with Congress, you can be as prepared as possible for the changes that are on the books right now.