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This month, CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) published a final rule to be affecting the Medicare payments to hospice providers.

As CMS proposed in April this year, the final rule will increase payments to hospices by 1.8% or $340 million in the fiscal year 2019. This update is excellent news because this is higher than the previous increase of only 1% for the hospice payments for the fiscal year 2018. The aggregate cap of annual CMS payments to hospices increased by 1.8% also to $29,205.44.

Hospice providers that do not meet the quality reporting requirements as set by the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP) will now receive a 2% reduction in their CMS payments. These requirements include the two reporting metrics from the Hospice Item Set (HIS) and the Hospice CAHPS® Survey.

This implementation changes the timeline that hospices need to submit data for the HIS to four and a half months following the end of each quarter in a calendar year starting January 1, 2019. There were minor changes to the evaluation categories to CMS’s Hospice Compare program.

The update also will formally recognize physician assistants as designated attending physicians in hospices starting in 2019. This is a welcome change for both hospice providers giving them more staffing flexibility and hospice patients giving them more access to quality caregivers.

Also, the recognition of physician assistants helps fill a growing care need gap of HPM physicians. As a study published this April in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management noted the supply of specialist HPM physicians is currently not adequate to service the hospice patient population. More worrisome, the “current training capacity is insufficient to keep up with population growth and demand for services.” The foresight of CMS to add physician assistants will be beneficial to address this issue starting in 2019.

CMS has published a Fact Sheet with the highlights or you can read the entire Medicare Program rule update here.

 

"As a Social Worker in a long term care setting I want to ensure my residents have the ultimate in comfort. Upon actually getting to test one myself, I realize Broda is the ultimate in comfort for any geriatric population including ours. As the number of Broda's chairs grow, so does the comfort and improved skin integrity of our residents."

Colleen M., Social Worker |Brookfield, WIColleen M., Social Worker

"Our gliders [Tranquille Auto-Locking Gliders] are always disappearing out of our common areas and end up in our patients' rooms We don't know how they get there, but they love them and prefer sitting in them more than anything else. One patient with a back injury told us this was the only chair he could sit comfortably in. He wanted to take it home with him after his rehabilitation was complete."

Josiah D., Facility Administrator |Pocatello, ID

"Prior to the Broda chair [Synthesis Tilt Recliner], we had tried numerous positioning devices for the resident, which were ineffective. She had a tendency to lean forward and to one side. Once using the Broda chair [Synthesis Tilt Recliner], the resident's posture immediately improved. She, herself, was very thankful because she was "so comfortable". The staff couldn't believe the result. Besides this resident sitting in proper alignment, she could still self-propel with her feet."

Linda P., Restorative Coordinator |Joliet, IL

"Prior to using Broda's Elite Tilt Recliner, there were issues with safety for getting the resident out of the chair, safety for staff lifting her in, either manual/mechanical; comfort, keeping her in the chair, inability to get her body over the sides.

The chair sides raise to prevent her from throwing her legs/body over the sides; same with the extra padding along her leg area that is raised. The tilt puts her buttock in a comfortable position, but also makes it extremely difficult to push out. The chair sides also swing out to assist with ease of the mechanical tilt.

Broda's chair has given her a reason to want to get up and she enjoys her chair now. When we are using the mechanical lift she remains calm because she wants to get in it and will stay longer safely and comfortably! Staff can safely lift and position her without worrying about injuring themselves."

J. C., Unit Manager, RN |Campobello Island, NB

"We were at a loss with one of our residents who has frontal lobe dementia. He had trunk lean, stopped feeding himself and appeared to be in pain. We attempted to address the pain; however, any medication we used caused him to have increased behaviors. Since using Broda's Synthesis Tilt Recliner, he has been feeding himself, he smiles and laughs like he used to and is showing no signs of pain anymore. Thank you for producing a great product that brings the quality of life back to our residents!"

Kelly J., Director of Nursing |Sister Bay, WI