CMS proposes $180 million increase in hospice reimbursements

Hospices may be getting a $180 million Medicare payment increase in fiscal year 2014, according to a proposed rule released Monday in a pre-publication document prepared for the Federal Register. The 1.1 percent increase is an update to the wage index, designed to assist with the changing hospice care trends, including longer beneficiary stays and new models for calculating hospice rates.

The proposed reimbursement boost joins other changes being discussed for hospices, including revised diagnosis codes, new forms quality reporting and new patient data documentation forms. CMS’ proposal reflects the rapid changes in the hospice market, where Medicare spending has surged from $2.9 billion to $14.7 billion in the past 12 years.

The proposed rule also includes a new family experience survey reporting, where hospices would be required to document communications with patients and families and gather their feedback on quality. If the rule is approved, “participation in the survey as a quality-reporting requirement for hospices to receive their full annual payment update beginning in FY 2017,” explains a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services fact sheet.

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