On August 1, 2017, CMS published the FY 2018 Hospice Final Rule. In the final rule, Medicare hospice payments, adjusted for inflation and other factors, will increase an estimated 1% or an estimated $180 million in 2018. This is in comparison to the 2017 final rule, which included a 2.1% increase, or $350 million, in payments.

Some other important items to note include:

  • As expected, CMS announced it will begin publicly reporting hospice quality data through Hospice Compare sometime this month starting with Hospice Item Set data and following with Hospice CAHPS data in late 2018.
  • The rule also finalizes eight measures from Hospice CAHPS Survey data already submitted by hospices, and finalizes the extension or exception for quality reporting purposes from 30 calendar days to 90 calendar days after the date that an extraordinary circumstance occurs. CMS stated that this change will, “align the HQRP with the other post-acute care quality reporting programs, as well as the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, and will give additional time for providers to focus on operations related to patient care should a situation arise, such as an unforeseen environmental emergency.”
  • Additionally, the final rule details policies and procedures associated with the public reporting of the quality measures.
  • CMS states that while no new measures based on the Hospice Item Set were added to the final rule, it is looking at two additional measure concepts under development: 1) potentially avoidable hospice care transitions and 2) access to levels of hospice care. It is reviewing comments received regarding these measures and is taking a close look at them for future rulemaking.

The FY 2018 Hospice Final Rule can be found here.

HEALTHCAREfirst hosted a free informational webinar outlining the details of the FY 2018 Hospice Final Rule on August 31, 2017. Registration for this webinar has closed, but please check out our upcoming webinars and webinar recordings for the latest info.

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