FY2020 Hospice Wage Index Final Rule

Categories: Featured and Policy.

On July 31, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule (CMS-1714-F) that demonstrates continued commitment to strengthening Medicare by better aligning the hospice payment rates with the costs of providing care and increasing transparency so patients can make more informed choices.

This final rule updates the hospice payment rates, wage index, and cap amount for fiscal year FY2020.  This rule finalizes rebasing of the continuous home care (CHC), general inpatient care (GIP), and the inpatient respite care (IRC) per diem payment rates in a budget-neutral manner through a small reduction to the routine home care (RHC) rates to more accurately align Medicare payments with the costs of providing care.

Additionally, this rule finalizes modifications to the election statement by requiring hospices, upon request, to furnish an election statement addendum effective beginning in FY2021. The addendum will list those items, services, and drugs the hospice has determined to be unrelated to the terminal illness and related conditions, increasing coverage transparency for beneficiaries under a hospice election.

Finally, CMS will continue its work to modernize and strengthen Medicare operations through the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP).

The hospice payment system includes a statutory aggregate cap. The aggregate cap limits the overall payments per patient made to a hospice annually. The final hospice cap amount for the FY 2020 cap year will be $29,964.78, which is equal to the FY 2019 cap amount ($29,205.44) updated by the final FY 2020 hospice payment update percentage of 2.6 percent.

Read the CMS press release on CMS website.

Members of NHPCO will find a comprehensive Regulatory Alert and additional resources on the NHPCO website.