Hospice Payments to Rise 0.9%, CMS Says

A net 0.9% increase in hospice payments will begin October 1, Centers for Medicare And Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in a home hospice wage index notice posted Tuesday. 

The impact of this new rule is projected to decrease federal payments to hospices by $100 million in fiscal year (FY) 2013.

Previously when introducing new rules, CMS has introduced them in the Federal Register and allows for a public comment period. CMS states in its proposal, however that in this undertaking comments are unnecessary as the notice does not make substantial changes to current policy.

Hospice services totaled more than $13 billion for Medicare in 2010, and according to Congress’ Medicare advisory agency, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commissionthere was a 53% growth in the number of hospices from 2000 to 2010. 

Along with the payment increase the annual 15% reduction in the Budget Neutrality Adjustment Factor (BNAF). BNAF reduction is in accordance with the initiative to phase out the BNAF by 2016 by reducing it each year from 2010 to 2016 beginning with a 10% reduction for FY 2010, and a 15% reduction for subsequent years. 

The notice also includes a change in the reporting of patient diagnosis on hospice claims. According to the analysis by Abt Associates, 77.2% of 2010 claims only report one diagnosis. The notice argues that most hospice patients have multiple ailments contributing to their end of life situation, and therefore those ailments should be reported. 

Read the notice here

 Written by Erin Hegarty



Erin Hegarty