Palliative, End-of-Life Care Options Regulation Finalized

December 22, 2014

A provision  included in the state’s 2012 Health Care Cost Containment Law (Chapter 224) on palliative and end-of-life care options is being realized through a final regulation issued by the Department of Public Health.

It is now a patients legal right to receive information about palliative care and hospice from a facility as well as their full range of options for treatment, if the condition warrants either approach. Massachusetts hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities are expected to comply.

The Home Care Alliance helped advocate for the inclusion of this provision in the law and also commented with several other provider groups and organizations at a public hearing when the regulations were proposed. At that time, the definition of palliative care in the proposed regulation was more in line with hospice services. The Alliance, among many other groups, expressed concern that palliative care is a team-based approach to an advanced illness, but not necessarily linked to the expected outcome of that illness as with hospice.

DPH has released a guide explaining the right to these options in several languages for consumers, a summary of what was changed from the proposed to the final regulation, and the regulation language itself. The list of resources can be viewed here on a DPH webpage.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


MA Cancer Prevention & Control Network Readying Palliative Care Survey for Home Care

October 20, 2014

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention & Control Network (MCCPCN) is putting the finishing touches on a survey on palliative care geared towards treating cancer patients.

The Home Care Alliance is a part of an MCCPCN task force that built the survey, which will be distributed to agencies via email form DPH.  Agencies are strongly encouraged to take the time to respond. MCCPCN is under the Department of Public Health and a cover letter from Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett explains the reasoning and background to the survey as well as how it will help advance palliative care services.

Questions on this issue can be directed to James Fuccione at the Alliance.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

 


ODF for Home Health and Hospice, March 5th

February 28, 2014

The next Home Health, Hospice & DME Open Door Forum is scheduled for Wednesday,, March 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM

To participate by phone:

Dial: 1-800-837-1935 & Reference Conference ID: 71246014

Proposed Agenda

1. Opening Remarks

2. Announcements & Updates

  • Hospice and Part D
  • Hospice Claims Reporting
  • Hospice & CAHS
  • Hospice Quality Update
  • FY2015 and FY2016 reporting cycles
  • Hospice CAHPS survey
  • HH CAHPS
  • Home Health Quality Update

For details visit the ODF Website

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


Controversial Hospice Article Draws Response

January 8, 2014

photo credit: NY Times/Ruby Washington

Once again, the actions of the few bad actors in home health and hospice are getting media attention rather than the vast majority of agencies that are devoted to providing high quality care to keep people comfortable and at home.

In an investigative report, the Washington Post highlights findings that the number of patients discharged alive from hospice rose by 50 percent between 2002 and 2012. The article also highlights numbers from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) stating that in 2011, nearly 60 percent of Medicare’s hospice expenditure of $13.8 billion went toward patients who stay on hospice care longer than six months. The article singles out for-profit hospices in particular, but still puts all hospices in a negative context.

In fact, the article has prompted responses from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) as well as the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). In a letter to the editor, NAHC ends their rebuttal by writing:

We must all do our part to ensure that hospice remains a viable choice for terminally ill patients and their loved ones.  Articles of this type may unwittingly discourage use of hospice care, thereby denying terminally ill patients and their families access to vital services that support and comfort them during and in the aftermath of one of life’s most difficult journeys.  Under these circumstances, no one is well served.

The New York Times’ “New Old Age Blog” digs much deeper into the Washington Post’s findings and notes the many layers to the issue and why those numbers may have surfaced. For instance, the blogger writes:

What’s happening here? Hospices have lamented for years that dying patients wait too long to call, enrolling at the eleventh hour when they could have benefited months earlier. Now, we’re hearing more about patients doing as hospice believers (including me) have urged, calling earlier in the course of a terminal disease — and then, in a substantial minority of cases, getting bounced.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


ODF on December 11th

November 26, 2013

Save the Date!

The next Home Health, Hospice & DME Open Door Forum is scheduled for Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. If you wish to participate, dial 1-800-837-1935; Conference ID: 70980706.

Tentative Agenda:

I. Announcements & Updates

  • Ordering & Referring Physician
  • HHCAHPS
  • Home Health Rule Publication
  • Q Code Requirement

II. Open Q&A

III. Special Breakout Session with Q & A Hospice Item Set (HIS) and upcoming Training. Session starts promptly at 2:40 p.m.

Visit the Open Door  Forum Website for more information.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

NB: The original post accidentally indicated that the forum was to be on December 11; the post has since been corrected.


NHIC- Ask the Contractor- August 15th

August 14, 2013

The Medicare Administrative Contractor, NHIC. Corp., will hold the Hospice & Home Health Ask the Contractor Teleconference (ACT) on August 15th at 10:00 a.m

Ask-the-Contractor Teleconference is an opportunity to speak directly with the contractor. NHIC staff representing a variety of functions will be available to answer questions. NHIC usually will provide some updates to the home health and hospice community but the majority of this call is dedicated to providers as a question and answer open forum.

Registration is required on NHIC’s website- Education Programs.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


CMS Releases Hospice Item Set Draft

May 14, 2013

CMS recently published a  draft version of the Hospice Item Set (HIS) that hospice agencies will be required to collect for patients admitted on or after July 1, 2014.

The HIS has two versions: Admission and Discharge. The admission version needs to be completed within 30 days of admission and CMS estimates that it will take your hospice 19 minutes to gather and input all the information needed to complete. The discharge version of the HIS must be completed within 30 days of discharge and is estimated to take 10 minutes to complete the shorter discharge set.

Information CMS is proposing to collect includes numerous process measures, such as whether the patient was asked about preferences regarding CPR and other life-sustaining treatment, and whether the patient or caregiver was asked about spiritual or existential concerns.

If you have comments concerning the accuracy of the time estimate(s) or suggestions for improving this form, please write to: CMS, 7500 Security Boulevard, Attn: PRA Reports Clearance Officer, Mail Stop C4-26-05, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


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