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An Analysis and Commentary on Federal Health Care Issues by Larry Goldberg

CMS Releases Proposed FY 2020 Hospice Wage Index, Payment Rate and Quality Reporting Requirements

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued a proposed rule that would update hospice payment rates, wage index values, and quality reporting items for fiscal year (FY) 2020.

The rule also proposes to rebase the continuous home care (CHC), general inpatient care (GIP), and the inpatient respite care (IRC) per diem payment rates in a budget-neutral manner “to more accurately align Medicare payments with the costs of providing care.”

Further, the rule proposes to modify the election statement requirements to require the hospice to include additional information aimed at increasing coverage transparency for patients that elect hospice.

CMS is proposing to use the FY 2020 pre-floor, pre-reclassified hospital wage index data for the FY 2020 hospice wage index rather than using the FY 2019 pre-floor, pre-reclassified hospital wage index data.

Finally, CMS will continue its work “to modernize and strengthen Medicare operations through proposals to the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP).”

The 147-page document is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on April 25th. A copy is currently available at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-08143.pdf. This link will change upon publication. A 60-day comment period ending June 18th is provided.

CMS estimates that aggregate payments to hospices in FY 2020 will increase by $540 million.

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