Rising Per Patient Costs Spurs Calls for Higher Hospice Rates

Posted Sunday, June 19, 2022 

A significant amount of hospice providers have seen the costs of patient care rise 3% to 10% since 2019, and many expect further increases next year.

As a result, they are asking for Medicare to reconsider proposed 2023 reimbursement rates.

Specifically, close to 98% of respondents to a May survey of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) members reported that the costs of providing care have been mounting during the past two and a half years, with 97% anticipating further spikes in 2023.

The hospice advocacy group NHPCO is now asking the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reassess the 2.7% per diem rate increase included in the 2023 proposed payment rule to account for these expenses.

“For the increasing numbers of hospices with rising numbers of short stay patients, patient care costs significantly exceed payments …” NHPCO stated in its formal comments to CMS on the proposed rule. “[Hospices’] reliance on Medicare, along with a set per-diem payment makes hospice providers uniquely dependent on Medicare for most of the reimbursement and leaves no room for negotiation on price.”

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