Hospice News Digest 6-18-18

News

  1. Access the Proposed Rule Listening Session
  2. Educate yourself on Wage Index Proposed Rule with NHPCO’s Talking Points
  3. CMS Issues SE18007 with Updates to NOE/NOTR Process
  4. Recent and Upcoming Improvements in Hospice Billing and Claims Processing
  5. House of Representatives Passes NAHC-supported Bill to Fight Opioid Epidemic
  6. CMS Issues Information about Opioid Crises
  7. Reminder: Hospices Should Drop Use of Billing “Workaround” for Transfers Starting July 2
  8. CAHPS Hospice Survey Response Rate
  9. MedPAC Report is Available
  10. Hospice Provider Preview Reports—Reminder to Review Your Data
  11. Congressional Leaders Press HHS for Answers on Cybersecurity in Health Care
  12. NAHC’s 2018 Regulatory Blueprint for Action Available for Online Reference
  13. Provider/Supplier Reporting of Adverse Legal Actions
  14. Immediate Access to Additional Overpayment Recovery Letters Through myCGS
  15. Hospice Opioids Bill Passed in the House
  16. Important Current and Future Hospice Billing Changes Outlined
  17. New HHS?
  18. According to Study, Government Level Funding Increases May Be Only Solution to Lower Wage Home Care Jobs
  19. Read the 6-14-2018 MLN Connects Issue
  20. Read the full 6-14-2018 NHPCO NewsBriefs

Events

21. National Emergency Preparedness (EP) Webinar for Providers

22. Virtual Hill Week 6-18 through 6-22

23.  16th Annual Rocky Mountain Geriatrics Conference

24. NHPCO Interdisciplinary Conference

25. The Afterlife Conference

26. Foundations of Mindful Caregiving Training

Interest Stories and Other Items

27. HHS ASPR Releases Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)

News

1. Access the Proposed Rule Listening Session

Via NHPCO NewsBriefs: “NHPCO hosted a Listening Session on the FY2019 Hospice Wage Index Proposed Rule for members on June 13 which included a description of the major provisions of the proposed rule and participant feedback. Access the listening session recording. Download the talking points (PDF) from the Listening Session.”

2. Educate yourself on Wage Index Proposed Rule with NHPCO’s Talking Points

Download the NHPCO’s prepared talking points here.

3. CMS Issues SE18007 with Updates to NOE/NOTR Process

Via NHPCO NewsBriefs: “On June 7, 2018 CMS issued SE18007 through MLN Matters (PDF) with clarifications and updates to the Notice of Election (NOE) and Notice of Termination or Revocation (NOTR) process. Effective January 1, 2018, hospices can submit NOEs and related transactions electronically. This change is voluntary for the hospice.  In addition, it allows the hospice to correct election or revocation dates by using a new occurrence code 56. The hospice must also indicate the NOE is a correction by adding condition code D0 (zero). If occurrence code 56 and condition code D0 are not both present, the NOE will be returned to the hospice. SE18007also announces new improvements to the NOE/NOTR process, which redesigns the way hospice elections are displayed.  It ensures that the hospice election and revocation date information is separate from benefit period information, so the two types of information can be changed independently.  As the MLN Matters article reports:
“MACs will convert all existing hospice benefit periods into the new election period and benefit period format if the revocation date on the benefit period is blank (current elections) or is 4 years old or less. Older benefit periods will remain in Medicare systems unchanged. All new hospice elections received on or after July 2, 2018 will create periods in the new formats.”

4. Recent and Upcoming Improvements in Hospice Billing and Claims Processing

Via CMS MLN Matters: “Hospice billing staff should review this article to understand the recent and upcoming Medicare improvements to hospice billing and claims processing. Read more.

5. House of Representatives Passes NAHC-supported Bill to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Via NAHC Report: “The House of Representatives passed 25 bills on Tuesday, June 12, to combat the nationwide opioid epidemic, including legislation like H.R. 5041, strongly supported by NAHC, which would enable hospices to keep potentially dangerous painkillers out of the hands of people who might sell or otherwise abuse them.
The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control reveal that about 42,000 people died from opioid abuse in 2016 alone.
The Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act (H.R. 5041) amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow employees of qualified hospice programs to dispose of unused opioids in the patient’s home. For the purposes of the legislation, a hospice employee is defined as a person (including a physician or nurse) who:

  • is employed by the hospice;
  • is licensed or certified to perform such employment; and
  • has completed training by the hospice regarding disposal of controlled substances in a secure and responsible manner.”

Download the full article here.

6. CMS Issues Information about Opioid Crises

Via NHPCO NewsBriefs:
“CMS Issues Roadmap for Opioid Epidemic: CMS issued a roadmap this week to address the opioid epidemic and their three focus areas — prevention, treatment and data. CMS offers a state map (PDF) showing Medicare prescribing rates.
CMS Issues State Medicaid Director Letter on Opioid Crisis: This week, CMS has released guidance (PDF) to provide states with the necessary regulatory tools and flexibility to combat the opioid crisis. This new guidance also describes the approaches states can use to address this crisis, ensures awareness of available resources and articulates promising practices for addressing the needs of beneficiaries facing opioid addiction.”

7. Reminder: Hospices Should Drop Use of Billing “Workaround” for Transfers Starting July 2

Via NAHC Report: “Previously, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Medicare Learning Network (MLN) Matters® article, SE17014 (https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNmattersArticles/downloads/SE17014.pdf).  This article instructed hospices to utilize a “workaround” under which a hospice that received a transfer patient reports the benefit period start date as the admission date on claims. This was necessary to ensure the days provided by the initial hospice provider were counted when determining the correct Service Intensity Add-on (SIA) payment.” Download the full article here.

8. CAHPS Hospice Survey Response Rate

Via NHPCO NewsBriefs: “The CAHPS Hospice Survey response rate for the upcoming public reporting period fourth quarter of 2015 through the third quarter of 2017 (10/1/2015 through 9/30/2017) is 33%, which is the same as the response rate for the current public reporting period, third quarter of 2015 through the second quarter of 2017 (7/1/2015 through 6/30/2017). For details regarding the formula that CMS uses to calculate the survey response rate, please see the CAHPS Hospice Survey Quality Assurance Guidelines, Version 4.0.”

9. MedPAC Report is Available

Via Calvin McDaniels at NAHC: “The Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) has released their annual June Report to Congress. The report offers their official recommendations to Congress on the state of Medicare and suggested policy changes. In this year’s report, the Commissioners make refinements to the proposed post-acute care prospective payment system that creates a site-neutral payment system across the four different care settings. Additionally, the Commissioners made recommendations on the encouraging of Medicare beneficiaries to seek out high quality post-acute care providers. A factsheet on the report can be found here.”

10. Hospice Provider Preview Reports—Reminder to Review Your Data

A Reminder from CMS: “Hospice provider preview reports and Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) Survey ® provider preview reports have been updated and are now available. These two separate reports are available in your Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reports (CASPER) non-validation reports folder. Hospice providers are encouraged to review their Hospice Item Set (HIS) quality measure results from Quarter 4- 2016 to Quarter 3-2017 and their facility-level CAHPS® survey results from Quarter 4, 2015 to Quarter 3, 2017.
Providers have 30-days to review their HIS and CAHPS® results (June 1, 2018 through July 1, 2018).
Should a provider believe the denominator or other HIS quality metric to be inaccurate or if there are errors within the results from the CAHPS® Survey data, a provider may request CMS review. Providers must adhere to the process outlined on the Public Reporting: HIS Preview Reports and Requests for CMS Review of HIS Data webpage and the Public Reporting: CAHPS® Preview Reports and Requests for CMS Review of CAHPS® Data webpage.
For more information on how to access these reports, view the HIS Preview Report Access Instructions and the Hospice CAHPS® Provider Preview Reports Access Instructions.”

11. Congressional Leaders Press HHS for Answers on Cybersecurity in Health Care

Via NAHC Report: “Key leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives sent a bipartisan letter to the Department of Health and Human Services last week, raising concerns about the department’s implementation of the Cyber Security Sharing Act (CISA) of 2015 and requesting important updates, including information about the Cyber Threat Preparedness Report (CTPR).
The letter, signed by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), as well as House Energy and commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ), called on HHS to provide more information to Congress about cybersecurity progress in the health care sector.” Download the full article here.

12. NAHC’s 2018 Regulatory Blueprint for Action Available for Online Reference

Via NAHC Report: “Since the early days of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), the organization has maintained a “Regulatory Blueprint for Action,” which contains regulatory policy positions held by NAHC.  This compendium is revised by NAHC staff on an annual basis; the revisions take into account recommendations submitted by NAHC members, affiliated state associations and members of NAHC’s committees and boards.  The revised blueprint is subsequently reviewed and approved by the NAHC Board of Directors and then serves as the official regulatory advocacy blueprint for the association.” Download the full article here.

13. Provider/Supplier Reporting of Adverse Legal Actions

Via CMS MLN Matters: “Historically, CMS deemed Medicare Payment Suspensions and CMS-Imposed Medicare Revocations to be reportable Final Adverse Actions. In an effort to reduce provider and supplier burden, CMS NO LONGER requires Medicare Payment Suspensions and CMS-Imposed Medicare Revocations to be reported. Read more.

14. Immediate Access to Additional Overpayment Recovery Letters Through myCGS

Via CMS MLN Matters: “Registered myCGS users have immediate access to correspondence sent in the mail through our Green Mail enhancement, including a number of letters specific to overpayment and refunds.
We are pleased to announce this now includes Intent to Refer and initial demand letters. Read more.

15. Hospice Opioids Bill Passed in the House

Via NHPCO NewsBriefs: “Yesterday, House lawmakers approved over two dozen bills that will help mitigate the impact of opioids, synthetic drugs, and other pain management medication on communities. THE GREAT NEWS is that the Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act (H.R. 5041) was among the many bills approved, passing unanimously with a 398-0 vote. Currently, the Drug Enforcement Administration forbids hospice personnel from destroying unused medication unless authorized by state law. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will allow hospice personnel to assist in the disposal of unused medication following a patient’s death, helping decrease the opportunity for diversion, addiction and unintentional misuse of prescription drugs.
NHPCO strongly supported this important legislation and applauds the bill’s sponsors Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-02), and Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08) for their leadership in fighting America’s opioid crisis. It is our understanding that all the bills voted on yesterday will be merged into a single bill that will be sent to the Senate for its consideration. Our hope is that the legislation will be signed into law in the coming months. Stay tuned to the HAN blog for updates.”

16. Important Current and Future Hospice Billing Changes Outlined

Via NAHC Report: “During 2017 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced significant changes that, beginning in early 2018, allow hospice providers to electronically submit Notices of Election (NOE) and related transactions and to correct election or revocation dates without needing to cancel all transactions related to the hospice election.  Most recently, CMS issued a MLN Matters Article (SE 18007 – Recent and Upcoming Improvements in Hospice Billing and Claims Processing) that reminds hospice billing staff about these options, but also announces forthcoming changes to the way hospice benefit periods are configured in the Common Working File (CWF)” Download the full article here.

17. New HHS?

Via Calvin McDaniels at NAHC: “The White House is considering some shifts in federal programs, potentially moving housing and the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) to the Department of Health and Human Services, and then possibly renaming HHS to a name that includes “welfare” in the title.”

18. According to Study, Government Level Funding Increases May Be Only Solution to Lower Wage Home Care Jobs

Via Valerie VanBooven at HomeCareDailey.com: “Home care may be the number one job creator in the country at the moment (and is expected to remain that way for at least the next ten years), it’s not producing high wage jobs. Despite efforts by the Department of Labor and other minimum wage increase advocates, the vast majority of in home health care providers are considered low wage workers and the pay often keeps them living in poverty.
While the solution is simple on the surface (increase wages), there is a major problem: when wages are increased, businesses must pass along those increases in order to remain profitable. That would usually fall onto the laps of the families and individuals who need in home care support. And that’s not always feasible.” Read the full article here.

19. Read the 6-14-2018 MLN Connects Issue

Access news, events, and other media from CMS in their 6-14-2018 MLN Connects here.

20. Read the full 6-14-2018 NHPCO NewsBriefs

Access news, education, and other announcements from NHPCO in their 6-14-2018 NewsBriefs. Download the issue here.

Events

21. Emergency Preparedness (EP) Webinar for Providers

National Emergency Preparedness (EP) Webinar for Providers
The CMS will host a national webinar for EP Providers on topics and questions related to the new CMS EP Rule, the 1135 waiver and Lessons Learned (observations) within the past year. Please ensure only EP Providers participate in the webinar.
What:  National Emergency Preparedness Webinar
Who:   Emergency Preparedness Providers
When: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 1:00-2:30 pm, ET.
Please use the following link to register for this upcoming webinar:  https://events-cms.webex.com/events-cms/onstage/g.php?MTID=e7370c6aed632224a71e0c56b2b7a9bf9
For questions related to content:  Please submit EP questions in advance to SCGEmergencyPrep@cms.hhs.gov.

22. Virtual Hill Week 6-18 through 6-22

Via the Hospice Action Network and NHPCO: “irtual Hill Week is coming up! Mark your calendars to join us Monday June 18 through Friday June 22. We will be asking Members of Congress via phone calls and emails to cosponsor the Rural Access to Hospice Act, and using letters to the editor to spread awareness of hospice access issues in the wider community… As a part of this effort, we are also collecting stories from our Rural patients and providers about the unique needs and experiences they’ve had receiving or providing care in rural areas. Click here to share your story!
Learn more about Virtual Hill Week here.

23. 16th Annual Rocky Mountain Geriatrics Conference

The 16th Annual Rocky Mountain Geriatrics Conference will be September 24-25, 2018. It will be held at the Omni Interlocken Hotel (500 Interlocken Boulevard, Broomfield, CO 80021). Register here.

24. NHPCO Interdisciplinary Conference

The 2018 NHPCO Interdisciplinary Conference will be in New Orleans, LA this year. The Education Programs & Preconference Seminars will be held on November 3-4. The main conference will follow on November 5-7. Early bird rates are available until July 15. To register or find out more, go here.

25. The Afterlife Conference

The Original Afterlife Awareness Conference: Exploring the Science and Spirit of Death and Beyond will be November 1-4 this year in Orlando, FL. To find out details about the conference, go here. To register, go here.

26. Foundations of Mindful Caregiving Training

There are upcoming trainings in June, July, and September. Via Zen Hospice Project: “A comprehensive exploration into serious illness care, the Foundations course integrates subjects, such as cultivating mindfulness for engaged care, mindful communication, and the three pillars of self-compassion. We also examine personal loss, barriers to expressing compassion, and the importance of self-care.  This course supports caregivers in staying grounded, embodying patience and building resiliency. This training also inspires the courage to be honest and the resolve for acting and responding conscientiously. Read more here.” 

Interest Stories and Other Items

27. HHS ASPR Releases Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)

Via Melissa Harvey at ASPR: “Under this FOA, ASPR invites applicants to develop demonstration projects that address healthcare preparedness challenges, establish best practices for improving disaster readiness across the healthcare delivery system, and show the potential effectiveness and viability of a Regional Disaster Health Response System…For details on this opportunity, please see the Partnership for Disaster Health Response Cooperative Agreement Funding Opportunity Announcement.”

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