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WISH Act, Palliative Legislation and Hospice Final Rule Released

Published: 08/02/2021
WISH Act, Palliative Legislation and Hospice Final Rule Released


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

ARPA

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) introduced a temporary federal matching rate for in home and community-based services. Home Health Care News shared some of the plans states currently have in the works to take advantage of the available funds. Some of the states reviewed in the article are Rhode Island, New York and Washington. Read the rest of the article here.

WISH Act

U.S. Representative Thomas Suozzi introduced the Well-Being Insurance for Seniors to Be at Home (WISH) Act. The purpose of the act is to help seniors afford and access long term care. The WISH Act would create a federal trust fund for long-term care and move a portion of support away from Medicaid. Read the rest of the article here.

Increased Costs

Some of the increased costs that were the result of the pandemic may continue after the country returns to normal”. The top increases home care providers are continuing to see include staff rates, recruitment costs and PPE. Read the full article here.

Vaccinations

In the wake of rising COVID delta variant cases, 60 organizations banded together on a joint letter calling for mandated vaccinations for home health workers. The delta variant is an aggressive new strain that is now responsible for 83% of sequenced cases. Read the rest of the article here.

Expanding Access to Palliative Care for Seniors Act

Four senators have introduced legislation that directs CMMI to create a community-based palliative care payment and delivery model. The legislation called Expanding Access to Palliative Care for Seniors Act is bipartisan. The senators supporting this bill are also the founders of the Senate Comprehensive Care Caucus. The new model will likely take cues from the Medicare Care Choices Model. Currently, Medicare Advantage plans are allowed to cover palliative care as a supplemental benefit, but there is no standard model for palliative care. Read the full article here.

THIS MONTH IN HOSPICE

CMS Survey and CoP Updates

Payment rebasing, conditions of participation and quality measure are the main updates included in the CMS final rule for 2022. A 2.0% payment increase and raised payment cap was included in the rule. A waiver related to hospice aide competency evaluations was made permanent and the Hospice Care Index has been implemented. Moving forward, hospice star ratings will be integrated into Care Compare. Hospices who fail to comply with quality reporting requirements will receive a 2% point reduction to their annual payment update percentage increase. Read the full article here.

The hospice survey process has been re-vamped by CMS and providers are working through the changes required to stay in compliance. Many of the requirements were a result of language passed in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The changes mainly affect four core conditions of participation (CoPs). Read the rest of the article here.

Chaplain Codes

Hospices are calling for the establishment of Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes for chaplain services. These codes would allow agencies to gather data regarding the chaplain services they are providing. Current HCPCS codes for spiritual care only apply for services rendered by the VA. Read the full article here.

HOSPICE CUSTOMERS IN THE NEWS

Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care

Seasons entered into a joint venture with ChristianaCare to expand in-home services in Delaware. The state has the second-highest rate of hospice utilization in the U.S. Seasons will manage daily care for hospice patients within the ChristianaCare ecosystem. Read the full article here.

Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care broke ground on a new inpatient facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The facility will be located near several hospitals to allow for quick and easy transfers and will hold 15 beds. It will provide a comfortable alternative to hospitalizations for hospice patients with private rooms, family amenities and comprehensive care services. Read the rest of the article here.

St. Croix Hospice

St. Croix Hospice is continuing its expansion in the Midwest with the acquisition of CNS Hospice in Michigan. CNS Hospice serves the Detroit metropolitan area and will retain their current staff. Read the rest of the article here.

St. Croix Hospice also announced its second acquisition in Illinois with the purchase of one of Silverado Hospice’s locations. The location acquired by St. Croix is in Des Plaines, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). Read the full article here.

Hosparus Health

David Cook will replace Phil Marshall as CEO of Hosparus Health in September. His plans for the organization’s future growth and enhancement opportunities include VBID and MA and home-based primary care. Read the full article here.

Compassus

Jim Deal, CEO of Compassus, spoke with Home Health Care News about the importance of service line diversity in home-based care. Compassus currently offers home health care, infusion therapy, palliative and hospice care. The company reaches more than 40,000 patients across 30 states and puts them in an excellent position to provide longitudinal care. Read the rest of the article here.

Compassus is piloting a new technology platform called Empathy to supplement bereavement efforts. After the three month pilot, the company will consider rolling out the program to all 200 locations in the organization. Read the full article here.

Moments Hospice

Moments Hospice is opening a new de novo location in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The organization now has 14 locations in five states, concentrated in the Midwest. The company opened eight de novo locations last year, which are its primary engine for growth. Read the rest of the article here.

Moments Hospice announced another new de novo location in Des Plaines, Illinois. The provider has been growing rapidly in 2020-2021 and now spans 15 locations across six states. Read the full article here.

Transitions Hospice

Transitions Hospice is growing with a combination of de novos, acquisitions and referral relationships. The company provides skilled nursing, home health, medical equipment, therapy assets and palliative services and expects to expand into new states this year. Read the rest of the article here.

Agape Care

Agape Care Group announced the acquisition of Integrity Hospice from Dublin, Georgia. The company has additional deals in the pipeline for the rest of 2021 - 2022 and will continue to expand in the Southeast. Integrity Hospice’s census of 300 will join the 2,100 patients served by Agape Care Group annually. Read the full article here.

RESOURCE ARTICLES

New Legislation Seeks to Help Seniors Pay for Long-Term Care” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on July 12021

As Pandemic Eases, Home Care Providers Discover Some Costs Stick” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on July 112021

How States Could Expand Medicaid HCBS Programs” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on July 192021

Health Care Associations Call for Vaccine Mandate as Threat of the Delta Variant Grows” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on July 272021

Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Create Community-Based Palliative Care Demo” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 302021

ChristianaCare, Seasons Build Complete Care Continuum Through Hospice Joint Venture” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 72021

St. Croix Enters Michigan Market with CNS Hospice Deal” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 12021

New Hosparus CEO David Cook Focused on Taking Hospice to the Next Level” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 82021

St. Croix Hospice Acquires Silverado Location in Illinois” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 122021

Compassus Partners with Tech Company Empathy on Bereavement Support” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 142021

Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care Launches New Inpatient Facility in Phoenix” By Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on July 92021

Moments Hospice Enters South Dakota Market with De Novo” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 152021

Hospice Provider Compassus Sees a Future Delivering High-Acuity Care in the Home” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on July 192021

Transitions Hospice Poised for Expansion in Multiple States” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 162021

Agape Care Grows in Georgia with Integrity Hospice Acquisition” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 202021

Hospices Brace for Revamped CMS Surveys, Enforcement” By Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on July 232021

Moments Hospice Expands Footprint to Illinois with De Novo” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 232021

Hospices Seek Expanded Claims Codes for Chaplain Services” By Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on July 282021

CMS Rebases 2022 Hospices Payments, Updates CoPs” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on July 292021