Hospice Providers Push For Greater Access To Medicare’s Curative Services Experiment
In the demonstration program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, patients can receive both palliative and curative care at select hospices, but advocates say the eligibility criteria should be looser. In other Medicare news, KHN reports on guidelines for end-of-life conversations that doctors can now bill.
Medicare Hospice Demo Criticized For Tight Eligibility Limits
Some hospice advocates and providers are concerned that too few Medicare beneficiaries will qualify for a CMS experiment allowing terminally ill patients to continue curative treatment after starting hospice care. Medicare patients currently are required to forgo curative services when they enroll in a hospice program to receive palliative care during the dying process. But studies have found that providing both forms of care concurrently improves quality of life and reduces costs since those patients tend to not make frequent hospital visits. (Dickson, 3/15)
Kaiser Health News:
Doctors Ponder Delicate Talks As Medicare Pays For End-Of-Life Counsel
Physicians can now bill Medicare $86 for an office-based, end-of-life counseling session with a patient for as long as 30 minutes. Medicare has set no rules on what doctors must discuss during those sessions. Patients can seek guidance on completing advance directives stating if or when they want life support measures such as ventilators and feeding tubes, and how to appoint a family member or friend to make medical decisions on their behalf if they cannot, for instance. The new policy reflects Americans’ growing interest in planning the last stage of their lives when they may be unable to make their wishes known.(Galewitz, 3/16)