MedPAC March 2022 Report to Congress Released

Categories: Policy.

On March 15, 2022, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) issued the MedPAC 2022 Report to Congress.  In the hospice chapter of the Report to Congress, MedPAC makes two recommendations:

11-1:  For fiscal year 2023, the Congress should eliminate the update to the 2022 Medicare base payment rates for hospice and wage adjust and reduce the hospice aggregate cap by 20 percent.

11-2:  The Secretary should require that hospices report telehealth services on Medicare claims.

Quick Facts:

  • 5,058 hospices in 2020.
  • 72 million beneficiaries used hospice services, up 6.6 percent from about 1.61 million in 2019. However only 47.8% of Medicare beneficiaries who died in 2020 received hospice care, a drop from 51.6% in 2019.  The increase in deaths and increase in the number of beneficiaries receiving hospice services in 2020 due to increased mortality rates (however, the share of decedents who used hospice declined in 2020, reflecting a more rapid increase in deaths than in hospice enrollments).
  • For 2022, the Commission projects a Medicare aggregate margin of about 13 percent.

“While it’s disappointing to see MedPAC once again recommend hospice reimbursement cuts in the form of wage adjustments and a reduced cap, it’s important to note that MedPAC can only make recommendations and cannot set policy. With the current economic challenges and staff shortages, compounded by the ongoing pandemic, if we want to continue providing patients with the end–of-life care they deserve, we should actually be increasing hospice reimbursement to make sure hospices can recruit and retain staff. That’s the opposite of MedPAC’s recommendation. As always, NHPCO will keep representing the hospice community in conversations with MedPAC staff, lawmakers, and CMS, to ensure that they understand the importance of investing appropriately in hospice care,” said Edo Banach, President & CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).

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