MedPAC March report to Congress

Categories: Policy.

So what’s in the MedPAC report that relates to hospice?

Something you’ll find on the front page of…not much outside the beltway. But that’s why your resident policy analyst is here! So what’s in the MedPAC report that relates to hospice?

Chapter 11. And no surprises. NHPCO and HAN staff are are actively engaged with MedPAC staff throughout the year, and monitor monthly meetings. So we had a good sense that there were no monsters ready to jump out of any closets.The chapter walks through Medicare payment for hospice services (and touches on the new payment model) and a discussion about the Commission’s concern regarding short stays and initiatives like the Medicare Care Choices Model that they hope will address their concerns. This chapter also provides a fairly substantive overview of recent developments on quality reporting within the hospice community. There are also a lot of interesting stats, which are in keeping with the NHPCO 2015 Facts and Figures analysis, including:

  • In 2014, 47.8 percent of Medicare decedents used hospice, up from 47.3% in 2013.
  • One driver of increased hospice use over the past 10 years has been the increase in patients with non-cancer diagnoses.
  • The growth in average length of stay for the 90th percentile has slowed (only 1 day from 2012 to 2014).
  • The median length of stay has held steady since 2000, hovering around 17 and 18 days. The Median length of stay in 2014 was 17 days.

In the end, MedPAC projects the 2016 aggregate margin for hospices to be 7.7 percent (including sequestration, but not including the 1.7 percent for non-reimbursable services). The Commission notes hospices’ administrative costs increasing to accommodate new requirements such as the new quality initiatives. However, with new hospices continuing to emerge, increasing beneficiaries, and stability for length of stay, the body recommends that hospices receive no update to the 2016 payment rate.

Last but certainly not least, MedPAC’s Report to Congress is a compilation of recommendations. Congress must take action on these recommendations for them to come into law.


This article was originally posted on the Hospice Action Network website.


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