WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 2, 2019)—On Wednesday, July 31, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted its final disposition of the FY2020 payment rule titled, “Medicare Program; FY 2020 Hospice Wage Index and Payment rate Update and Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements”. The rule is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on Aug. 6, 2019.  he National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is analyzing the final rule in depth, but an initial review indicates that CMS largely finalized the rule as proposed in April, despite widespread hospice stakeholder concern over the impact of several policy changes. NAHC notes that CMS does intend to provide an additional year prior to imposition of the extensive election statement and election statement addendum requirements (to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2020 rather than on Oct. 1, 2019) to allow for additional consideration of operational and logistical issues.

NAHC President Bill Dombi remarked, “While it is clear that CMS plans to move forward with a number of provisions despite the serious concerns that have been raised—including an immediate rebasing of hospice payment rates—we strongly support CMS’s expressed intent to monitor utilization to ensure that the changes do not incentivize inappropriate use of higher levels of care. We are also encouraged that CMS recognizes the need to allow for additional time so that logistical and operational issues associated with the election statement and addendum requirements can be addressed. We look forward to working closely with CMS over the next year to limit the level of burden that these new requirements impose on hospice caregiving staff.”

Find the rule here.