CMS is considering adding to Hospice Compare a quality measure that reflects the rate of hospices’ live discharges that are followed by a hospitalization/emergency room visit/observation stay within seven days or are followed by death within 30 days.
Some hospice industry experts were taken aback by CMS’ latest analysis of service intensity add-on (SIA) payment data. The analysis raises a red flag, because CMS contends hospices aren’t providing enough visits at the end of patients’ lives.
The hospice industry is expected to receive about $340 million in increased payments in 2019, according to CMS’ proposed hospice payment rule posted April 27 on the Federal Register. That’s nearly twice the payment increase in 2018.
Take steps to bolster the documentation your hospice provides to support patients’ eligibility and for the level of hospice care you bill.
L543 (Plan of care) was the most common citation during hospice surveys in 2017, while two other issues involving the content of the plan of care (L545 and L547) ranked among the top six, CMS data show.
Ensure patients and their loved ones understand the efforts your hospice is taking to help with pain and constipation symptoms patients are suffering. 
Hospice Compare’s location search field appears to function properly now — and that’s something industry experts contend will be extremely helpful for the website.
Have all members of the hospice interdisciplinary group (IDG) — in consultation with the patient’s attending physician — complete the comprehensive assessment no later than five calendar days after the election of hospice care.
A short but intense stay on the routine home care level of care — the care level most hospice patients receive — could create reimbursement and cash flow issues for some hospices, industry experts say.
If you find inaccurate demographic data on your hospice’s Provider Preview Report or on Hospice Compare, contact your hospice’s Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for assistance.


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