Interesting hospice policy implications, if they pass this round or not... (Summary taken from Hospice News Today, 12/4/19).
Senators Hope To Add Hospice Bill To Year-End Package
Inside Health Policy
December 3, 2019
A recent Government Accountability Office report detailing problems with hospice care is increasing the urgency for additional CMS oversight as Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) seek to attach their bill aimed at giving CMS those tools to an end-of-year spending package, according to a Cardin spokesperson. However, the offices are still waiting for assistance with the bill from CMS and a House version has yet to be released. … The senators’ bill has not been taken up by the Senate Finance Committee since its Nov. 7 introduction, and at press time a committee spokesperson hadn’t responded to inquiries about Chair Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) plan for the legislation. The Senate bill would require that CMS publish the results of state and local surveys on Hospice Compare; hospices with documented problems be surveyed more frequently; hospices with deficiencies be given standardized educational information about how to correct those issues; HHS create an educational and training program for surveyors; HHS publish an annual report on hospice problem areas; CMS implement larger pay cuts for hospices that fail to report quality measures; and HHS impose immediate sanctions on hospices that fail to correct deficiencies. … The Senate legislation is a response to an explosive report from the HHS Office of Inspector General in July that found over 80% of hospices providing care for Medicare beneficiaries between 2012 and 2016 had at least one deficiency, including inadequate patient assessment and poor care management, leading to beneficiary harm. … [NHPCO President and CEO Edo] Banach also said oversight is a step in the right direction, but he argued the right data is needed to draw a correct conclusion on a hospice’s quality of care. For example, he suggested that looking at live discharge rates to determine quality of care may be flawed because patients may decide to leave hospice before their final days of life for in-home or curative care instead.