Hospices get 2.1% pay increase in Medicare final rule

Hospice providers will receive a 2.1% boost to their Medicare payments in fiscal 2017 under a final rule published Friday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The increase will bring an additional $350 million in funding to hospices, based on an estimated 2.7% inpatient hospital market basket update.

The rule also updates the hospice cap, which will remain equal to the 2016 hospice cap but will be adjusted from $27,821 to $28,405 based on the payment increase. The increase is slightly less than the original 2.8% boost included in the proposed FY 2017 payment rule, released by CMS in April.

Also included in the final rule are two new quality measures: Hospice Visits When Death is Imminent (a measure to assess hospice staff visits in a patient's' last three to seven days of life) and Hospice and Palliative Care Composite Process Measure (which assesses the percentage of hospice patients who received care consistent with guidelines). Both measures will go into effect in fiscal 2017.

The final FY 2017 payment rules for hospices, as well as nursing homes, will be published in the Federal Register on August 5.