CMS Finalizes $180 Million Medicare Increase for Hospices

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final rule setting fiscal year 2018 payment rates for hospices.

In keeping with current law, the market basket percentage increase is 1% for hospices in FY 2018. That equates to a $180 million aggregate increase in their payments in FY 2018.

The hospice payment system allows for a statutory aggregate cap, which limits the overall payments made to hospice facility, annually.


As required by the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014, the cap amount for accounting years that end after September 30, 2016, and before October 1, 2025, must be updated by the hospice payment update percentage rather than the consumer price index.

As such, the cap amount for FY 2018 will be $28,689.04, according to CMS.

The rule also instills eight measures from CAHPS Hospice Survey data already submitted by hospices. Additionally, the rule finalizes the extension or exception for quality reporting purposes from 30 calendar days to 90 calendar days after the date that an extraordinary circumstance—such as an environmental emergency—occurred.


The rule finalizes plans to publicly display quality measure data via Hospice Compare in August 2017. Further, this rule details protocol associated with the public reporting of the quality measures used in the hospice program.

In the proposed payment rule issued in April, CMS solicited input on two potential new measures in the Hospice Item Set. One related to potentially avoidable hospice transitions, and the other involved access to hospice levels of care. No new measures related to these domains are being added through the final rule. CMS is considering the comments it received for future rulemaking, the agency stated.

The final rule also touches on the public comments received on two claim-based measures under consideration and the Hospice Evaluation & Assessment Reporting Tool (HEART), a patient assessment tool.

The final rule is available at the Federal Register’s Public Inspection Desk and can be found under “Special Filings.”

Written by Carlo Calma

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