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New CMS Administrator and Funding Signals Growth for Hospice Industry

Published: 06/01/2021
New CMS Administrator and Funding Signal Growth for Hospice Industry


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

CMS

The U.S. Senate confirmed Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as Administrator of CMS. She is the first black woman to lead CMS and she has stated that her focuses will include addressing health care equity, improving quality and reducing costs. I am committed to leading the agency in a way that ensures it acts with the utmost integrity and upholds its fiduciary responsibilities. Read the full article here.

Next year, CMS may update disclosure requirements for owners of care agencies. Providers may be asked to disclose a wide variety of affiliations and could be barred from participation in Medicare based on the affiliations. Read the rest of the article here.

The Biden Administration & HHS

The Biden Administration released $1.4 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan for Older Americans Act programs. To review how the money will be distributed read the full article here.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offered clarification regarding the use of HCBS funds set aside as part of the American Rescue Plan. The increased FMAP funds can be used to enhance, expand or strengthen HCHB beyond what is available through Medicaid.” It should be used to make programs better or expand reach, not fund entirely new programs. Home health, personal care, private-duty nursing and PACE programs are eligible to receive the boost in funds. Read the rest of the article here.

PPP Loans

Agencies who requested loans through the Paycheck Protection Program are paying their loans back or filing loan-forgiveness applications. But loan forgiveness is not automatic. Learn about the loan forgiveness process and the measures the SBA are taking to lower the bandwidth issues the organization is dealing with currently. Read the full article here.

Turnover Rates

Home care turnover rates remained almost steady in 2020, rising by less than 1% to 65.2%. This is considered a huge win for the industry considering widespread challenges the industry faced during the pandemic. Read the rest of the article here.

M&A Market

A potential hike in the capital gains tax may push more agencies who were considering selling into the market. Regulatory changes, high evaluations after COVID and an eagerness to sell before increased taxes affect the bottom line are driving many owners to sell as quickly as possible. Read the full article here.

CONNECT for Health Act

A group of senators have reintroduced the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies for Health Act. The bill expands Medicare coverage of telehealth and makes some of the flexibilities made available during the pandemic permanent. Read the rest of the article here.

Acute Cancer Care

New findings state that hospital-at-home cancer patients had 55% fewer hospitalizations and 45% fewer emergency department visits. This led to massive savings. Health care costs for these patients were 47% lower than that of patients receiving traditional cancer care. Read the full article here.

THIS MONTH IN HOSPICE

Hospice Proposed Rule

The CMS Hospice proposed rule has been published with some welcome updates including a 2.3% rate increase for FY 2022. Additional items of note include adding hospice star ratings to Care Compare and a new measure for the Hospice Quality Reporting program called the Hospice Care Index. Read the rest of the article here.

PACE

Many hospices are exploring the benefits of opening PACE programs to extend their services and assist with direct contracting eligibility. PACE allows hospices to offer services that address social determinants of help and slow down the decline in chronic illness. Read the full article here.

Workforce Advocacy

Industry advocates including Marian Grant, senior regulatory advisor at the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), spoke about the workforce challenges the hospice and palliative care industry is facing. Federal regulation may help address some of these difficulties by creating consistency and more clear opportunities. Read the rest of the article here.

Opioid Policy

Studies have shown that misapplication of the current CDC guidelines for opioid prescriptions and the difficulty and delays of getting approval for these prescriptions are hindering hospice pain management. Read the full article here.

Palliative Care

Experts note that value-based care programs are promising avenues for palliative reimbursement, but there are tripwires that agencies must avoid. Improving quality and reducing costs are vital metrics to illustrate as part of your track record. Read the rest of the article here.

HOSPICE CUSTOMERS IN THE NEWS

Brookdale Senior Living

Efforts to provide vaccinations to residents are paying off for Brookdale Senior Living. Occupancy rates have gone up, social activities have resumed and more visitors are being allowed into the facility thanks to the 93% vaccination rate among residents. Read the full article here.

The Pennant Group

The Pennant Group has seen impressive growth and recovery over in 2021. The company’s home health and hospice revenue went up 31.4% in quarter 1. We’re excited to report a record quarter for our home health and hospice segment”. Read the rest of the article here.

Pennant announced that it has acquired the assets of Cardiovascular Home Care, a home health services company based in Fort Worth, Texas. Read the rest of the article here.

Season’s Hospice & Palliative Care /​AccentCare

Season’s appointed Nicole McCann-Davis to the role of associate vice president of health equity and access. She will oversee efforts to foster equity, diversity and inclusion among the staff and patient populations. She comes to the role with over 15 years of experience and chairs the NHPCO Diversity Advisory Council. Read the full article here.

St. Croix Hospice

A de novo location in Duluth, Minnesota has been opened by St. Croix Hospice. The company’s de novo and acquisition activities are planned to accelerate during 2021. Read the rest of the article here.

St. Croix has launched a de novo location in Sioux City, Iowa, the company’s third de novo in 2021. The new location will increase St Croix’s reach further into Iowa. The state is ranked 7th nationwide in hospice utilization. Read the full article here.

Traditions Health

Traditions Health recently acquired Area Community Hospice and AmeraCare Family Hospice and Home Health. These deals followed the addition of four acquisitions in the first quarter of 2021. Read the full article here.

Moments Hospice

Moments Hospice created a mobile education unit to help continue to spread important education around the hospice benefit during the pandemic. Attendees can remain socially distant in an outdoor environment and the trailer provides valuable supplies and transports donations. The events are promoted through social media and local news. Read the rest of the article here.

RESOURCE ARTICLES

HHS Releases New Guidance on American Rescue Plan Funding for Medicaid HCBS” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on May 142021

Home-Based Care Providers with PPP Loans Can’t Bank on Forgiveness” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on May 172021

A Huge Victory’: Home Care Turnover Remains Stable at 65.2%” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on May 192021

How a Capital Gains Tax Hike Could Affect the Home-Based Care M&A Market” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on May 232021

Senate Bill Would Extend Telehealth Flexibilities Beyond Pandemic” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on May 192021

Senate Confirms Brooks-LaSure to Lead CMS” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on May 252021

CMS Medicare Provider Enrollment Requirements Could Drive Home Health Agencies Out of Business” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on May 22021

Senators Reintroduce Home Health Telehealth Legislation” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on April 232021

Biden Administration Releases $1.4B for HCBS, Senior Health Programs” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on May 52021

Building Payer Relationships Key to Financially Sustainable Palliative Care” By Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on May 242021

Hospices Navigate Regulatory, Financial Concerns to Launch PACE Programs” By Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on May 72021

Advocates Call for Policy Change to Support Hospice, Home-Based Direct Care Workforce” By Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on May 132021

[UPDATED] CMS Proposes 2.3% Pay Raise for Hospices, Updates Conditions of Participation” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on April 92021

Public Opioid Policy May Interfere with Hospice Patients’ Pain Management” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on May 172021

Brookdale’s Occupancy Rebound Could Bolster Hospice Business with HCA Deal Pending” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on May 72021

Pennant Group Seeks Acquisitions Amid Record Hospice Growth” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on May 72021

AMN Healthcare Buys Synzi for $42.5M; Pennant Acquires Texas Home Health Provider” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on May 162021

Seasons, AccentCare VP: Hospice Education Essential for Underserved Communities” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on May 142021

Saint Croix Expands Footprint in Minnesota” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on May 202021

Traditions Health Acquires Two Hospice Companies in Texas, Louisiana” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on May 192021

St. Croix Hospice Expands with Iowa De Novo” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on May 32021

Moments Takes Hospice Education to the Streets with Mobile Unit” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on May 32021