NAHC and its Affiliates Send a Letter to CMS on the Hospice Cost Report
July 25, 2014 03:02 PM
NAHC and its affiliates the Home Care and Hospice Financial Manager’s Association (HHFMA) and the Hospice Association of America (HHA) recently sent a letter to Laurence Wilson, Director of the Chronic Care Policy Group for the Center for Medicare at CMS urging that CMS provide at least nine months from the date of the hospice report is released to implement its changes.
The letter was sent at a time when representatives from the hospice industry are expecting the final version of the hospice cost report for freestanding hospices to come out, which CMS has not yet released. As time goes by, there is increasing concern that there won’t be sufficient implementation time between the final version becoming public and the effective date for affected hospices to be able to make all of the organizational changes they will need to in order to report accurate and updated information to CMS.
In its letter, NAHC, HHFMA and HAA state that:
“We understand CMS had anticipated that the final revised hospice cost report for freestanding agencies would be made public in the early months of 2014, and that it would apply to cost reporting years beginning on or after October 1, 2014. This raised some concerns within the hospice community that the October 2014 effective date would not allow sufficient time for many hospice providers to secure thorough education and adapt their financial and other operations to meet the significantly expanded reporting requirements. As of this date the revised hospice cost report has not yet been made public. Based on input from financial experts in the hospice field, most hospice providers will need a minimum of nine months to assimilate the cost report revisions and adapt their systems so that they can access data needed to accurately complete the revised cost report. For this reason, we strongly urge that when the final hospice cost report revisions are made public, the effective date allows a minimum of nine months for hospices to comply.
The revised hospice cost report that CMS has developed has the potential to vastly improve the quantity and quality of data submitted, but hospices need significant lead time to adapt. Hospices must undergo intensive training; develop a new chart of accounts; and must conduct strategic planning that engages management, financial, operations, and clinical staff to ensure that data is being collected and attributed in a consistent and accurate manner. Only after a hospice has undertaken these efforts will it be ready to implement the changes. These processes take time. If providers are not afforded the lead time necessary to adapt to the new cost reporting requirements, the opportunity to vastly improve the available detail and quality of data related to hospice costs will not be realized.”
NAHC and its affiliates will keep members updated on any and all developments, and will report on content of the hospice cost report when it is ultimately released.
To read the full letter, please click here.