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Evolution of Hospice Care in the Cards for 2021

Evolution of Hospice Care


To keep you informed on news, innovation, education and advocacy issues around home-based care, we’ve pulled together these important headlines.

Home-based Care under Biden

Leaders from the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care weighed in on the changes they believe may come under the Biden administration. Find out what their predictions are here.

Medicare Sequestration

A moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequestration cuts was put into effect earlier this year to help alleviate some of the financial pressures resulting from COVID-19. The moratorium was slated to expire on December 31st, but an extension through March 31, 2021 has been included as part of the $1.4 Trillion spending package that was approved by Congress on December 21st. Review the breakdown of the proposed bill on Home Health Care News or Hospice News.

CMS Outlines Steps to Hospital at Home Expansion

CMS is expanding and adapting their Hospital Care at Home program which allows hospitals to treat patients in their homes. The program is designed for beneficiaries who require acute inpatient admission to a hospital and require at least daily rounding by a physician and medical team. CMS launched an online portal to help streamline the application and adoption into the program. Read the rest of the article here.

Home Health agencies may be able to leverage pre-established relationships with health systems to assist with hospital at-home efforts. Find out how here.

Rate Cuts for Home-based Primary Care

CMS’ final rule for the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule includes an 8 – 10% payment cut to home-based primary care visits while in-office primary care rates were raised. Read the full article here.

COVID-19 Vaccine and Oversight Updates

Home-based care advocacy organizations have called or the inclusion of in-home caregivers in the priority access list for COVID-19 vaccine. These efforts are being taken both on a federal and state level. Read the full article here.

Several leaders in the hospice industry weighed in on their plans for the vaccine rollout. Read what they had to say here.

President elect, Joe Biden announced Xavier Becerra as his pick to lead the HHS and help contain the spread of COVID-19. Read the full article here.

Evaluation of the financial costs for agencies to enable staff vaccinations is underway by hospice agencies. Increased costs are anticipated around vaccination delivery and storage, as well as downtime for staff as they cope with side effects. Read the rest of the article here.

Relief Fund Announcements

Hospice and palliative care agencies received welcome news in the form of clarification regarding the use of provider relief funds. Agencies were informed that they may use provider relief funds to combat revenue loss from fundraising drops due to the coronavirus. Read the rest of the article here.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is distributing $24.5 billion to health care providers after reviewing the phase 3 applications. Read the full article here.

Compassionate Care Act

A new bill in support of advance care planning and end-of-life care has been introduced. The Compassionate Care Act places resources behind public awareness of hospice and palliative care. The act would also allow physicians to recertify hospice stays through telehealth which would help alleviate additional burdens on caregivers. Read the full article here.

The Compassionate Care Act has been lauded by industry leaders including NAHC President Bill Dombi. Find out what he has to say about the act here.

CMS Announces Geographic Direct-Contracting Model

The new payment model offers participants enhanced flexibilities and tools to improve care across an entire region while reducing costs. Providers will be included in upside downside risks to provide an incentive for quality care. Read the article here.

For hospice agencies, the Geographic Direct-Contracting Model offers the ability to participate in a demonstration that includes concurrent hospice and curative care. Read the article here.

Joining the direct contracting entities (DCEs) preferred provider network may provide opportunities for hospice agencies within CMS’ Geographic model. DCEs will be responsible for the total cost of care for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries and the implementation of both regional care delivery and value-based payment systems. Read the full article here.

Evolution of Care

MEDPAC also recommended that Congress reduce the aggregate cap for hospice payments by 20%. Read more about why this recommendation has been made and the potential implications for hospice agencies here.

Hospice News interviewed Chip Sloan, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Homecare Homebase, about the importance of interoperability in light of new CMS programs like the Primary Cares Serious Illness Population Model. Read the full article here.

The terms pre-acute” and peri-acute” are making waves amongst leaders designing future approaches to home-based care. The goal of a peri-acute health provider is to help keep patients from having to enter acute or hospital-based care. Read the full article here.

Respite Care

NAHC is urging Congress to fund the Lifespan Respite Care Program in 2021 to help provide respite care for household caregivers who are under increasing need due to isolation and stress from the pandemic. Read the full article here.

Palliative Care

Home-based palliative care could reduce societal health care costs by $103 billion within the next 20 years, according to Florida TaxWatch. Yet, as many as 71% of people in the United States have little to no understanding of what palliative care is. Two studies, one international and one in the Journal of Palliative Medicine brings to light the importance of improved education in the sector. Palliative care providers and industry organizations such as NHPCO, are calling on CMS to create a community-based palliative care demonstration. Read the full article here.

HOSPICE CUSTOMERS IN THE NEWS

Heart of Hospice

Heart of Hospice recently launched two subsidiary brands to help create a longitudinal continuum of care that meets the needs of seriously ill and advanced illness patients. Read the full article here.

Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care

Hospice News spoke at length with leaders regarding the merger between AccentCare and Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care and plans that are in development to provide more advanced care in the home. Read the full article here.

Hospice News asked Balu Natarajan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care to discuss access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Find out what he had to say here.

St. Croix Hospice

St. Croix Hospice is working to combat the social isolation that their patients are facing through a program that facilitates virtual and PPE protected in-person visits with friends and family members. Learn more about the program here.

Heath Bartness, Founder and CEO of St. Croix Hospice was asked to weigh in on 2021 industry predictions for hospice. Find out what he had to say here.

Traditions Health

Traditions Health acquired Harbor Light Hospice this month, adding 15 locations within 7 states to the rapidly growing agency. Read the full article here.

Traditions Health has also announced a move into the Oklahoma City market with the purchase of Centennial Hospice. This is the latest of 10 acquisitions that Traditions has completed from 2019 – 2020. Read more about the Centennial acquisition here.

RESOURCE ARTICLES

American Academy of Home Care Medicine Urges CMS to Reconsider Rate Cut for Home-Based Primary Care” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on December 16, 2020

Federal Serious Illness Care Payment & Policy Could Change Under Biden” by Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on December 15, 2020

$1.4 Trillion Spending Package Extends Sequestration Holiday, Grants Home Health OTs More Authority” by Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on December 22, 2020

Omnibus Federal Spending Bill Contains Major Hospice Provisions” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 22, 2020

CMS Outlines Steps to Hospital at Home Expansion” Published by HomeCare News on December 1, 2020

New CMS Hospital-at-Home Program Could Boost Business for Home Health Agencies” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on December 2, 2020

Hoping to Prevent Community Spread, Home-Based Care Advocates Vie for Critical’ Vaccine Access” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on December 1, 2020

Hospices Prepare for COVID Vaccine Roll Out” by Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on December 12020

Biden Picks California Attorney General Becerra to Lead HHS, COVID-19 Response” by Robert Holly Published by Home Health Care News on December 72020

Hospices Brace for COVID-19 Vaccine Costs” by Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on December 172020 

Hospice Fundraising Drop Considered Lost Revenue for Provider Relief Fund” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 04, 2020

HHS Distributes $24.5 Million in Relief Funds to Health Care Providers” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 16, 2020

Legislation Aimed at Expanding Advance Care Planning Introduced in Senate” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on December 2, 2020

Compassionate Care Act Introduced in Senate to Expand Advance Care Planning” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 2, 2020

CMS Announces New Direct-Contracting Model to Promote Easier Access to Home Care’” by Robert Holly Published by Home Health Care News on December 3, 2020

Geographic Direct Contracting: Where Hospice Fits” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 10, 2020

MEDPAC Reports Rise in Hospice Use, Calls for Payment Cap Cut” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 7, 2020

Geographic Direct Contracting: Where Hospice Fits” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 10, 2020

Aging Expert Bob Kramer: Hospitals Forced to Face the Fact People Don’t Want to Go There’” by Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on December 13, 2020

NAHC to Congress: Fund Respite Care, Extend Sequestration Moratorium” Published by HomeCare News on December 17, 2020

United States Ranks Low in Palliative Care Duration” by Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on December 4, 2020

Referral Management the Biggest Obstacle to Palliative Care Growth” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on November 30, 2020

[UPDATED]Heart of Hospice Creates New Parent Brand, Launches Two Subsidiaries” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 1, 2020

AccentCare, Seasons Finalize Merger Aimed at Streamlining Patient Care” by Robert Holly Published by Home Health Care News on December 22, 2020

AccentCare, Seasons Hospice Pursue Seamless Care Continuum, Hospital-at-Home” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 2, 2020

Hospices Prepare for COVID Vaccine Roll Out” by Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on December 1, 2020

St. Croix Hospice Innovates to Keep Patients, Families Connected” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 8, 2020

Hospice Leaders’ 2021 Predictions: Industry Change is Accelerating” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 18, 2020

Traditions Health Acquires Harbor Light Hospice” by Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on December 3, 2020

Traditions Health Purchases Centennial Hospice” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 82020