Medicare Costs Rise As Hospice Use Increases
The Orlando Sentinel reports that this increase tracks with other increases in costs from for-profit hospice organizations.
Orlando Sentinel: As More Use Hospice, Medicare Sees Sharp Rise In Costs, Problems
(H)ospice costs in general have risen sharply in recent years, prompting the federal government to crack down on waste and prosecute fraud. Officials for Medicare report that spending for hospice care has increased about $1 billion per year since 1998 — to a record $12.1 billion in 2009, the most recent statistics available. ... The growth parallels a rise in both for-profit hospice organizations — which now outnumber nonprofit hospices — and the rate of troubling compliance issues (Santich, 10/29).
Also in the news, the latest effort to repeal Medicare's physician payment formula —
Politico Pro: Bipartisan Duo Teams Up For SGR Repeal
After last year's passage of the contentious health reform law, few health care issues bring Republicans and Democrats together. But two lawmakers — one Republican and one Democrat, each with a health care background — seem to have found some common ground. Reps. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) are working together to lobby for a full repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate, the highly criticized physician payment formula. The effort, highlighted in a bipartisan, unofficial hearing this week, comes after the two teamed up to push for the repeal of the health reform law's Independent Payment Advisory Board (Haberkorn, 10/28).