Hospice

Hospice care becoming costlier, less aggressive, study finds

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Brown researchers examined the change in last-year-of-life Medicare expenditures during the most recent expansion of the program that began in 2004 and continued through 2009.

CMS plan would hike hospice rates in 2016

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services plans to raise hospice payment rates by nearly $200 million, or 2%, in fiscal year 2016. They come under a sweeping proposal establishing payment tiers based on length of stay and laying the groundwork for additional quality reporting measures.

A good book's unintended lesson and tears for a great friend

A good book's unintended lesson and tears for a great friend

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One of the best signs of a good book is its unplanned lessons. While its title might profess how to fix this or do better at that, a high-quality book also will lead the reader to enlightenment for reasons a PR agent might not promote. Such is my personal experience with Atul Gawande's "Being Mortal."

Connecting the hospice compliance dots

Connecting the hospice compliance dots

If someone asked you if your hospice was compliant with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Office of Inspector General's Effective Compliance Program Guidance for Hospice, what would you tell them?

Complaint by whistleblowers will cost hospice $4 million

Complaint by whistleblowers will cost hospice $4 million

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A hospice company that hired medical directors with close ties to nursing homes to better pursue allegedly fraudulent practices has agreed to a $4 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.

Hospice pays $6.5 million fine to settle fraud case

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A New York hospice provider Wednesday agreed to pay approximately $6.5 million in fines to settle alleged false Medicare and Medicaid claims over a 16-month period.

Also in the news for Tuesday, February 10

Hospice company settles False Claims Act allegations for $4 million ... Colorado says no to right-to-die legislation ... NYT examines Obamacare's issue for GOP ... PA recovers $1.8 million for long-term care funds

Tomorrow's nursing homes must integrate palliative care

Tomorrow's nursing homes must integrate palliative care

Palliative care, a form of patient-centered care focused on quality of life for the seriously ill, should be the standard of practice for all elderly patients with complex illness in nursing homes.

Opportunity may be knocking, but many operators don't want to answer the door

Opportunity may be knocking, but many operators don't want to answer the door

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If you are a long-term care operator, the latest report from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization should leave you with mixed feelings.

Hospice is growing fastest in skilled nursing facilities, new report shows

Hospice is growing fastest in skilled nursing facilities, new report shows

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Hospice services increased in nursing homes more than in any other care setting last year, according to the latest annual report from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Also in the news for Nov. 5, 2014 . . .

Supreme Court hears arguments over whether Omnicare misled investors ... Hospice medical director faces up to 20 years in prison for improper patient certifications ... Lack of interoperability is hindering accountable care organizations, ONC report says

FL hospice, nursing homes, hospital passed patients back and forth to juice profits, whistleblowers charge

FL hospice, nursing homes, hospital passed patients back and forth to juice profits, whistleblowers charge

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Two Florida nursing homes and a hospital allowed a hospice company to provide free services in exchange for patient referrals, according to recently unsealed whistleblower charges.

3 tips for a strong SNF-hospice partnership

3 tips for a strong SNF-hospice partnership

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Easier said than done. That phrase often pops into my head when I read the latest long-term care research.

New hospice comparison tool uses government info, Washington Post calls for more transparency

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In the absence of a hospice consumer guide from the government, The Washington Post has created one using available Medicare data. The newspaper unveiled the quality tool Sunday, in an article criticizing a lack of transparency around hospice quality.

Labor Department sues Virginia provider for allegedly withholding nurse overtime pay

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A Virginia healthcare provider did not pay long-term care nurses overtime for three years, the Department of Labor has alleged in a recently filed lawsuit.

Hospice expansion decreases hospital readmissions among all nursing home residents, study shows

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Increasing hospice services can reduce hospital admissions among all residents of a nursing home, including those not enrolled in hospice, according to findings recently published in JAMDA.

Shedding light on the impact of hospice care

Shedding light on the impact of hospice care

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While there seems to be some disagreement over Malcolm Gladwell's posit that doing something for 10,000 hours will make you a master at it, the idea that practice leads at least to improvement has received another shot in the arm. (That would be hospice providers you hear cheering in the background.)

Critics agree: New book about long-term care is a must-read

Critics agree: New book about long-term care is a must-read

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Doctors have a lot to learn about long-term care."Duh," you say? Fair enough. But a newly published study and a just released book really drive the point home.

CMS: Nurse shortage means hospices can keep using contracted workers

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Hospices can continue to rely on contract nurses because an ongoing nurse shortage is preventing providers from meeting their staffing needs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in a recent memorandum to state survey agencies.

A very tangled web

A very tangled web

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Medication management is as much art as science in a patient's final days, and that can present multifaceted caregiving challenges for hospice providers

Also in the news for September 25, 2014 . . .

Nursing home staff widely supportive of hospice care in the facility, but fewer say it makes their job easier ... Clinical simulations are an effective replacement for on-site nurse training ... CDC: Diabetes rate has tapered off but not for seniors

Latecomers to hospice frequently are male, have certain cancers, Penn researchers find

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Men and patients with certain types of cancer are among those less likely to enroll in hospice, suggesting that healthcare providers should focus on presenting these groups with all their end-of-life care options, according to newly published findings.

CMS updates coding instructions for hospice site of service, principal diagnosis

CMS updates coding instructions for hospice site of service, principal diagnosis

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A new Medicare hospice manual update includes instructions for which principal diagnosis codes are acceptable, and clarifies which codes should be used for services in a skilled versus non-skilled nursing facility. Billing staffs should be aware of these changes, which go into effect Oct. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services stated in an educational memorandum sent Friday via email.

Also in the news for September 2, 2014 . . .

Inspectors cite LA nursing homes for dangerous practices but supervisors change reports to benefit facilities ... Feds join whistleblower suit charging that hospice billed for ineligible patients ... Magnetic pulses to the head could boost memory in people with Alzheimer's, Northwestern researchers say

CMS changes mind on hospice drugs

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The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services has revised guidance on authorization of hospice drugs for those under Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, according to a new memo.

Accepting what nurses cannot fix

Accepting what nurses cannot fix

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Like perhaps many of you, I come from a long line of "fixers." Multiple people whose schedules are conflicting? We'll coordinate. Someone isn't able to find a job? We'll provide help on their resume and introduce them around. A friend needs a boyfriend? Let me show you my multi-step PowerPoint plan.

Also in the news for June 13, 2014 . . .

Senators ask for provider input on healthcare data availability ... "Frailty index" can help predict post-surgery SNF admission ... Hospice association sues CMS over documentation rule ... Complex nursing home embezzlement case can go to trial

Hospice care scrutinized

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Medicare would increase hospice reimbursements by 1.3% in fiscal year 2015 under a payment rate proposed in May. This would be a $230 million boost, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

A blessing within the loss

A blessing within the loss

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This is a very hard blog for me to write. My mother just passed away. It was very sudden and not expected. I am blessed to have two mothers: A step-mother who has been in my life since I have been 8 years old (the nurse I often speak of and call "Mom") and "Mother" who just passed. But the reason I am writing this is not to garner sympathy or share my pain, but to share a rare experience that I think only those of us in healthcare may understand.

All veterans would be eligible for VA hospice care under House bill

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All veterans would be entitled to hospice care if recently introduced federal legislation becomes law. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) introduced the "Care for Our Heroes Act" Thursday in the House of Representatives.

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