NAHC to CMS: Hospices Need More Time to Comply With Cost Reporting Changes

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) has sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), pushing the agency to give hospice organizations more time to comply with upcoming cost report changes.

Industry organizations await CMS’ final version of the revised Hospice Cost & Data Report, which proposes significant changes in reporting financial and statistical information, routine home care, general inpatient care, inpatient respite care and continuous care, previous reports have stated.

The changes will impact freestanding hospices beginning Oct. 1, 2014, with similar rules for home health agency-based hospices expected to follow.

Because of this short time frame, NAHC and its affiliates, the Home Care and Hospice Financial Manager’s Association (HHFMA) and the Hospice Association of America (HHA), have urged CMS to provide at least nine months from the date that the hospice report is released to implement its changes.

“As time goes by, there is increasing concern that there won’t be sufficient implementation time between the final version becoming public and the effective date for affected hospices to be able to make all of the organizational changes they will need to in order to report accurate and updated information to CMS,” NAHC says.

While the revised hospice cost report has the potential to improve the quantity and quality of data submitted, hospices need significant lead time to adapt, the association writes in its letter to CMS. At minimum, hospice providers will need nine months to assimilate the cost report revisions and adapt their systems.

Earlier this year, CMS released its second draft of the revised report, reflecting the intent of CMS to secure financial information on a level of care basis.

Hospices will need to segregate all direct patient care costs by multiple cost categories into the respective level of care: routine home care, general inpatient care, inpatient respite care and continuous care, writes home health and hospice expert Jamie D. Dixon.

“The proposed changes will significantly increase costs for hospices, [as they] will need to follow a new uniform chart of accounts and conduct much more detailed analysis of costs so that they can be associated with the appropriate level of care,” NAHC has previously suggested.

To read the full letter to CMS, click here.

Written by Emily Study

Emily Study