This year, several bills were introduced at the federal level that would impact hospice and/or palliative care delivery/reimbursement. Below is a summary of their scope and the link to follow.
Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 ACT (H.R. 4040): extends telehealth flexibilities through 2024- goes to senate. This includes “evaluation and management” and behavioral health audio-only technology and hospice face to face waiver flexibilities – Supported by Leading Age-It has passed the House.
The Improving Access to Advance Care Planning Act (S. 4873) is a bipartisan, bicameral bill introduced by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rep Blumenauer (D-OR). Also joining in the introduction of the bill were U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn). The bill would allow more Americans to access advance care planning (ACP) services by allowing social workers to provide ACP services, removing beneficiary cost-sharing, and promoting increased education for providers on current ACP codes. The bill would also require improved reporting on barriers to providing ACP services and billing the corresponding codes. Supporters of the bill include LeadingAge, C-TAC, Center for Medicare Advocacy, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI), Respecting Choices, and the Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network (SWHPN).
PCHETA (S.4260): Introduced by U.S. Sen Capito (R-W.Va.) and Baldwin (D-Wis.). Co-Sponsored by Sen. Mike Rounds. Provides federal financial assistance for training, education/awareness, and research. Supported by The Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Hospice Action Network, Children’s Wisconsin, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine among others. This has already passed the House- needs to pass the Senate. If it doesn’t go through by the end of December, it must start the process all over. Sen. Thune does not need to sign it, just support it.
Grief Resilience Investment and Education Fund (GRIEF) Act (H.R.9190) introduced 9/30/2022 by Congressman Joe Morelle- Spearheaded by NHPCO and Hospice Action Network (HAN). It was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. If passed, the GRIEF act would expand access to bereavement care by providing grant funding for healthcare providers, like hospices, to expand previously underfunded community grief support programs.
H.R. 8505: To amend title XVII of the Social Security Act to permit the use of telehealth for purposes of recertification of eligibility for hospice care introduced 7/26/2022 by Rep. Carol Miller (D). It was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means in July 2022.
ICAN Act (H.R.8812) to amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to increase access to services provided by advanced practice registered nurses under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and for other purposes was introduced on September 13, 2022, by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). It was Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned. The Bill removes administrative and practice barriers for APRNs allowing them to fully be included in the beneficiary attribution process for the Medicare Shared Savings Program- including allowing them to certify and recertify a patient’s terminal illness for hospice eligibility.