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

CMS Releases FY 2021 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued a final rule that will update hospice payment rates, wage index values, and the hospice payment cap amount for fiscal year (FY) 2021. 

The rule finalizes, as proposed, the adoption of revised Office of Management and Budget (OMB) statistical area delineations and applies a 5.0 percent cap on wage index decreases from FY 2020 to FY 2021. 

Finally, CMS is providing examples on CMS’ website of the hospice election statement and the hospice election statement addendum to reflect the changes finalized in the FY 2020 hospice final rule, effective October 1, 2020. 

The 74-page document is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on August 4. A copy is currently available at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2020-16991.pdf. Of course, this link will change upon publication. 

CMS estimates that aggregate payments to hospices in FY 2021 will increase by $540 million, or 2.4 percent, compared to payments in FY 2020. Further, CMS estimates hospices in urban areas will experience, on average, a 2.4 percent increase in payments compared to FY 2020, while hospices in rural areas will experience, on average, a 2.6 percent increase in estimated compared to FY 2020.

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