NAHC Comments on Release of CMS Proposed Hospice Payment Rule for FY16

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 1, 2015) — The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) today announced it is examining a proposed payment rule released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its potential impact on hospice patients and their families, as well as on hospice organizations nationwide.

Late Thursday, April 30, CMS released a proposed payment rule for fiscal year (FY) 2016 that addresses payment reform of the routine home care (RHC) level of care by providing a differential payment of two separate rates: one for care provided from day one through day 60 of an episode of hospice care and another for days 61 and after.  In the rule, CMS also provided for a Service Intensity Add-on (SIA) that would be added to RHC payment for RN and social work visits provided during the last seven days of life.

Previous information and data released by CMS about its work on payment reform had focused almost exclusively on development of a tiered payment system for RHC and only hinted at the type of approach now being proposed.

“These changes will have far-reaching effects on hospice care and hospice operations, so we need to conduct in-depth analysis to ensure that this first step does not result in negative consequences that could reduce hospices’ ability to deliver comprehensive, high-quality care,” said Denise Schrader, Chair of the NAHC Board of Directors.  “We are taking a particularly close look at CMS’ proposed service intensity add-on (SIA) that is intended to support the very resource-intensive care provided to patients and families at the end of life.  While we appreciate CMS’ efforts to address this issue, we have concerns about the adequacy of this add-on, and further concerns that CMS would not allow this adjustment for patients residing in nursing facilities.  We must ensure that any payment system changes do not deny these patients equal access to needed services based on their place of residence.”

About NAHC
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is a non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice organizations. NAHC also advocates for the more than two million nurses, therapists, aides and other caregivers employed by such organizations to provide in-home services to some 12 million Americans each year who are infirm, chronically ill, disabled and dying. Along with its advocacy, NAHC provides information to help its members provide the highest quality of care and is committed to excellence in every respect. To learn more about NAHC visit www.nahc.org.

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