A new pilot program will give hospice patients more options in the type of care they wish to receive at the end of life, according to CMS.
The program, Medicare Care Choices Model, will allow Medicare beneficiaries with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF) and HIV/AIDS who meet hospice eligibility requirements under the Medicare hospice benefit, to receive palliative care services from certain hospice providers while concurrently receiving services provided by their curative care providers.
The new model is designed to test improvements to certain Medicare beneficiaries’ quality of life while they are receiving both curative and palliative care.
Currently, Medicare beneficiaries must forgo curative care in order to receive access to palliative care services offered by hospices. CMS will study whether Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for coverage under the Medicare hospice benefit will elect to receive the palliative and supportive care services typically provided by a hospice if they could continue to seek services from their curative care providers. They will also determine whether access to such services will result in improved quality of care and patient and family satisfaction, and whether there are any effects on use of curative services and the Medicare hospice benefit.
According to Medicare claims data, only 44 percent of Medicare patients use the hospice benefit at the end of life, and most use the benefit for only a short period of time. This model enables beneficiaries to receive palliative care services that are provided by the Medicare Care Choices Model participating hospice concurrently with services from their curative care provider.
CMS is seeking a diverse group of hospices representative of various geographic areas, both urban and rural, and hospices of varying sizes. Further, the applicant must be able to demonstrate experience providing coordination services and/or case management, as well as shared decision-making to beneficiaries prior to electing the Medicare hospice benefit in conjunction with their referring providers/suppliers.
Eligible hospice organizations interested in participating in this model must submit the application materials no later than June 19, 2014.
Source: CMS, March 18, 2014
2014 Healthcare Benchmarks: Palliative Care documents emerging trends in palliative care at 223 healthcare organizations, from the timing for initial palliative care consults to individuals on the palliative care team to the impact this specialized care is having on healthcare utilization and the patient experience—two critical markers of healthcare performance.