Hospice CARE Act Seeks to Refine Hospice Face-to-Face Requirements
Halamandaris endorses, urges passage of important legislation
May 18, 2015 04:25 PM
On May 1, 2015, Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced legislation (HR 2208, The Hospice Commitment to Accurate and Relevant Encounters Act -- Hospice CARE) to address key issues related to the requirement that hospice providers conduct a face-to-face encounter with patients entering their third or subsequent benefit period to gather information that helps support documentation of continuing eligibility for hospice care. The legislation would make the following changes to existing law:
Allow any of the following practitioners to conduct the hospice face-to-face encounter: hospice physician, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or physician assistance, or other health professional (as designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services); and
In cases of a new readmission to hospice care where exceptional circumstances exist (as defined currently by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), allow the face-to-face encounter to occur not later than seven calendar days after the individual’s election of services.
In conjunction with introduction of HR 2208, National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) President Val J. Halamandaris issued a letter in which he noted, “The intent of the hospice face-to-face requirement is to ensure adequate and appropriate involvement of medical professionals in certification of ongoing eligibility for hospice care. However, as currently implemented, the requirement may delay access to care and serve as a deterrent for some hospices to take eligible patients in need of immediate care onto service. This was neither its intent nor an advisable result of the requirement…[Your proposed] refinements to existing hospice face-to-face requirements are greatly needed, and will go a long way toward ensuring that patients will receive vital hospice services in a timely fashion. NAHC wholeheartedly endorses the Hospice CARE Act and your efforts in this regard.”
NAHC urges hospice stakeholders to contact their Member of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2208, and work for its swift passage. Please go to the NAHC Legislative Action Center to take action!