MedPAC to recommend that Congress alter hospice reimbursement system

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MedPAC to recommend that Congress alter hospice reimbursement system
MedPAC to recommend that Congress alter hospice reimbursement system
Medicare should pay a hospice more per day when a beneficiary enters the system and less as the beneficiary's stay increases in length, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission officials said recently.

Recognizing that longer hospice stays often times translate into more Medicare reimbursements for the hospice care provider, MedPAC on Friday recommended decreasing reimbursement rates after a certain initial period of time. Reimbursements would increase again in the event of a patient's death, when a greater effort of care is needed, the agency said. MedPAC plans to recommend these changes to Congress in March. They would not go into effect until 2013.

MedPAC officials also voted Friday to direct the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General to investigate possible conflicts of interest between hospice care and long-term care facilities. There is a possibility, MedPAC officials agree, that there may be some inappropriate referrals from nursing homes to for-profit hospice care facilities, which result in longer stay patients.
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