USA: Change to policy that prevented dying patients accessing medications

Categories: Policy.

Earlier this year, a new policy came into force in the US, which was designed to prevent duplicate payments on medications, but had unintended consequences for hospice patients on Medicare.

Since March, NHPCO has been working with the hospice community and many Congressional champions to halt the implementation of the new policy, after it resulted in certain dying patients being unable to access the medications they needed.

These efforts have been successful – as reported by ehospice USA – and last week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued revised, interim guidance.

J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO, said: “We are pleased that CMS has taken this step to revise the March 10 guidance in keeping with the 2012 OIG report. It will reduce the confusion for hospice providers and will allow patients to get their medications when they need them.

“As frontline caregivers, the hospice community led the effort to educate Congress and engage with stakeholders to halt the policy. With this change, patients and their families will no longer be caught in the middle of troublesome policy and stakeholders can implement an interim solution that can more easily be understood by all providers.”

Read more on ehospice USA.