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Hospice CARE Act 2024

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) is drafting the Hospice Care, Accountability, Reform, and Enforcement (CARE) Act of 2024. According to a note from Leading Age, “The Hospice CARE Act proposes major changes to the Medicare hospice benefit – a combination of reforms focused on enhancing program integrity and oversight and also, major payment reform proposals.”

Some proposed changes include a “new payment mechanism for high-acuity palliative care services, changes to the Per-diem payment process and actions to improve quality and combat fraud” reports Hospice News. These changes include:

  • Reduction in hospice daily rates
  • Adding a per-visit payment for clinical services
  • Payment add-on for high acuity palliative services like dialysis, chemotherapy, radiation and blood transfusions
  • Nurse practitioners would be able to certify patients for hospice.
  • Ban on payment to hospices who do not submit quality data.
  • New levels of respite care including inpatient, hospital transitions and home
  • Implementation of a new hospice moratorium to combat fraud

Rep. Blumenauer said “this is an essential part of being able to humanize the health care system to improve patient outcomes…it will save money and improve the quality of care for some of our most vulnerable people.”

The proposed bill is supported by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), LeadingAge and the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI), all of whom have been working to inform content of the proposed bill.  Each organization continues to work on the draft to ensure the “proposed policies don’t unduly burden hospices following the rules and delivering quality care and jeopardize timely access to care for the sickest among us” says Bill Dombi, NAHC president.

NHPCO and NAHC hosted roundtables for their members to get feedback by the July 3 deadline. LeadingAge also asked its hospice members to participate in feedback collection sessions. More information on the Hospice CARE Act can be found on their members only website, click here.

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