Medicare beneficiaries on hemodialysis face poor hospice access

Medicare beneficiaries on hemodialysis often are not given access to hospice care, according to a June 4, 2018 study published in Health Affairs. During the last year of life, patients only about 20% enrolled in hospice, and they only spent five or six days in hospice care. The study found that the findings “signal the need for greater flexibility in the provision of end-of-life care in this population.”
Researchers studied a national registry of end-stage renal …

Hospices’ scores improve on Hospice CAHPS measures

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With Hospice CAHPS data, two measures ticked upward by 1% each in the latest refresh of Hospice Compare.

Hospice Compare was updated May 16. It gets refreshed quarterly.

Hospice CAHPS data were collected between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2017.

Measure

May 2018 score

February 2018 score

Emotional and spiritual support

89%

89%

Rating of this hospice

81%

80%

Willing to recommend this hospice

85%

84%

Treating patient with respect

91%

91%

Help for pain and symptoms

75%

75%

Communication with family

80%

80%

Getting timely help

78%

78%

Training family to care for …

Proposed hospice rule shows Alzheimer’s is top diagnosis

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Now that Alzheimer’s disease has risen to become by far the most commonly used hospice claims-reported diagnosis, hospices must be even more certain that their documentation for Alzheimer’s patients can withstand auditor scrutiny.
G30.9 (Alzheimer’s disease, unspecified) was listed as a principal diagnosis 155,066 in the 2017 fiscal year.
That’s roughly twice as often as any other principal diagnosis, according to the 2019 proposed hospice payment rule posted April 27.
While Alzheimer’s …

Proposed 2019 hospice rule increases payments by $340 million

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Hospices are expected to receive a 1.8% payment increase in 2019 — an improvement from the prior year, according to the 2019 proposed hospice payment rule posted April 27 on the Federal Register.

Hospices only received a 1% payment increase in 2018. The lower amount in the prior year’s rule largely was due to a one-time reduction in the payment update due to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act …