CMS Releases Proposed FY2012 Wage Index

CMS posted the FY2012 Hospice Wage Index proposed rule late Thursday April 28, which includes wage index information  as well as clarifications on the face to face requirement, discussion of cap calculation methodologies and the ability of the hospice to choose between the current methodology and a patient-by-patient proportional methodology.  In addition, the proposed rule discusses the FY2014 requirement that hospices begin publicly reporting quality measures and how CMS proposes to begin that process.

The proposed rule can be viewed in its entirety on the Federal Register website.

Medicare Hospice Utilization in Maine Has Increased

No longer is Maine an outlier when it comes to Medicare Hospice referrals.  Now, more individuals and families are receiving high quality, supportive services the last weeks of life.  Since 1999, Maine has gone from 49th out of 50 states to 28th in utilization of Medicare Hospice services.  The national average according to Cordt Kassner of Hospice Analytics is 39 percent utilization (2009 Medicare Claims Data).  Maine is presently at 37 percent.

What happened to effect this change?  Was it merely coincidence?  Was it going to happen sooner or later?   The answer is both yes and no.


$35,000 Grant to Develop Statewide Advance Care Planning Program

The Maine Hospice Council and Center for End of Life Care (Council) received a grant from the Davis Family Foundation to begin developing a coordinated system of advance care planning. The project entitled, “Cultivating Meaningful Conversations to Guide End of Life Care: Developing an Effective System for Advance Care Planning and Documentation of Medical Orders to Honor Patients’ Wishes,” has been several years in the making, said Kandyce Powell, Executive Director of the Council. “A lot of people, including Eileen McDonald, Elizabeth Hart MD, Tammy Rolfe and David Giansiracusa MD, deserve credit for keeping this issue on the front burner.”

Medicare Reimbursement Rates

CMS Releases Fiscal Year 2007 Medical Reimbursement Rates

NHPCO Regulatory Alert

To:  NHPCO Members
From: Judi Lund Person, Vice President, Division of Quality and Access
Date: August 8, 2006

Re: Fiscal Year 2007 Medicare Rates

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the FY 2007 payment rates for hospice care furnished on or after October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007. NHPCO is pleased to report that the rates are a 3.4% increase over FY2006, which is the total market basket percentage increase forecasted for FY 2007.  They are as follows:

National Rates