Senators Introduce Hospice Respite Relief Legislation to Ease Access during Pandemic

POSTED ON MONDAY, August 10, 2020 

On August 4, 2020, Senators Brown (D-OH) and Capito (R-W) introduced the COVID-19 Hospice Respite Care Relief Act of 2020 (S. 4423), designed to establish additional flexibility related to delivery of respite care services during public health emergencies such. Specifically, the legislation provides the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) authority, during any public health emergency (including the COVID-19 PHE), to:

  • Waive the 5-day maximum for respite care when the caregiver is unable to provide care due to illness or isolation, for up to 15 days;
  • Waive the requirement that respite care only be provided in the inpatient setting, making the hospice respite benefit available to hospice patients in their place of residence, thereby keeping the patient safe and reducing exposure to COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 Hospice Respite Care Relief Act of 2020 would help to ease the challenges that have emerged around the delivery of institution-based respite care under the benefit by permitting patients to stay home while providing a break for their family caregivers, as well as to allow for longer time on respite care, if needed,” said NAHC President Bill Dombi in reaction to the bill’s introduction. “In addition to supporting the flexibilities in S. 4423, NAHC has urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to instruct surveyors to consider the special circumstances that have arisen during the PHE that have limited the ability of hospice providers nationwide to offer respite care, such as closure of contracted respite beds in facilities.”

Source: NAHC Report


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