CMS Releases Data on Hospice Quality, Home Health Use

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published on Friday new updates to two different hospice data sets—one on the thoughts of consumers, the other on hospice quality measures.

The first data set—the Hospice Item Set (HIS)—includes the national averages for quality measure scores of Medicare-certified hospice agencies calculated from the HIS for July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

Overall, the data show that most hospice agencies are consistently following protocol. Approximately 98.4% of hospice patients were asked about their preference for life-sustaining treatments, such as hospitalization, ventilator support and CPR, the data reveal. Similarly, about 97.7% of hospice patients were checked to see whether shortness of breath was an issue when they were admitted to hospice, and 94% of hospice patients were checked for pain when they were admitted.

Only 76.3% of hospice patients received a timely, thorough pain assessment when he or she reported pain, however.

The also-released National CAPHS Hospice Survey data set, meanwhile, includes the national average “top-box” scores of Medicare-certified hospice agencies on Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Hospice Survey measures. Top-box scores indicate the percent of respondents who gave the most positive responses for each measure.

The scores in the National CAPHS Hospice Survey data set were calculated from survey responses from the informal caregivers of patients who died while receiving hospice care between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016.

The scores are as follows:

  • Hospice Team Communication — 80%
  • Getting Timely Care — 78%
  • Treating Family Member with Respect — 90%
  • Getting Emotional and Religious Support — 89%
  • Getting Help for Symptoms — 75%
  • Getting Hospice Care Training — 72%
  • Rating of Hospice — 80%
  • Willingness to Recommend —85%

CMS also published on Friday the second-ever Home Health Agency Public Use File (Home Health Agency PUF), which now includes 2014 data. The new data shows services performed by home health agencies to fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries and includes information on 10,882 home health agencies, more than 6 million claims and almost $18 billion in Medicare payments for 2014.

Among other things, the Home Health Agency PUF features information on utilization, payment, submitted charges, and demographic and chronic condition indicators organized by Home Health Resource Group (HHRG), CMS Certification Number and state of service.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson