Medicare To Test Allowing Both End-Of-Life And Curative Care For Hospice Patients
The pilot project, mandated by the health law, is a change to the policy that terminally ill patients are required to forego curative treatments to qualify for Medicare-paid hospice. The project will be limited at first to 140 hospices.
The Wall Street Journal:
Medicare Expanding Access To Hospice Care
The federal government is announcing Monday the expansion of a pilot project that paves the way for Medicare beneficiaries to use hospice services while still getting treatments that aim for a cure. A successful test could lead to a fundamental shift in the delivery of health-care at the end of patients’ lives. Under current Medicare payment rules, beneficiaries can’t get both curative treatment and hospice care at the same time. (Armour, 7/20)
CMS To Test Concurrent Coverage Of Hospice And Curative Care
Terminally ill patients no longer will have to give up curative treatment to receive Medicare-paid hospice care, under a limited new program the CMS will start testing with 140 hospice providers as early as January. The Medicare Care Choices Model, established by the Affordable Care Act, waives the requirement that terminally ill patients must end curative treatment such as chemotherapy to qualify for Medicare hospice coverage. The model, which will run through 2020, will test whether the expanded benefits will convince more patients to enter hospice and whether it improves care, enhances patient satisfaction, and reduces costs. (Evans, 7/20)
Earlier KHN coverage: Medicare Lags In Project to Expand Hospice (Rau, 5/9/2013)
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports on the tough medical and financial decisions families must make for the elderly, and a new study examines how advanced directives impact care choices for terminal cancer patients.
The Associated Press:
Families Face Tough Decisions As Cost Of Elder Care Soars
For the two-thirds of Americans over 65 who are expected to need some long-term care, the costs are increasingly beyond reach. The cost of staying in a nursing home has climbed at twice the rate of overall inflation over the last five years, according to the insurer Genworth Financial. One year in a private room now runs a median $91,000 a year, while one year of visits from home-health aides runs $45,760. Goldblum estimates that she and her mother spent at least $300,000 over the last two years for care that insurance didn’t cover. (Craft, 7/20)
Kaiser Health News:
Despite Gains In Advance Directives, Study Finds More Intensive End-Of-Life Cancer Care
Conversations about end-of-life care are difficult. But even though most people now take some steps to communicate their wishes, many may still receive more intensive care than they would have wished, a study this month found. The study, published online in JAMA Oncology, examined survey data from the Health and Retirement Study, a national study of U.S. residents older than age 50. Researchers analyzed the responses from the next of kin, usually a spouse or child, of 1,985 participants with cancer who died between 2000 and 2012. (Andrews, 7/21)