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Why shouldn't everyone benefit from Hospice care improvement opportunity?

CMS to Allow Hospice Care During VBID Extension.” That is the title of a recent article in Hospice News. In essence, it is declaring is that patients will now be eligible to receive both traditional Medicare and Hospice Care in Medicare Advantage Plans. My question is - why give this care improvement and cost savings opportunity to only private insurers?

Medicare is failing financially and it decides to give away the $2.3 billion dollar savings that Medicare gets from Hospice annually!

The policy logic of this strategy is flawed at best. The Hospice Benefit needs a major overhaul because evidence demonstrates it could improve end-of-life care and save Medicare billions of dollars. Major changes like:

  1. Eliminating the six-month death certification and replace it with a terminal diagnosis

  2. Allowing patients to receive curative care and comfort care simultaneously

  3. Expand the home care benefit in hospice to make it a more viable option for families.

Going into Hospice compared to receiving ineffective and expensive hospital care, drugs, and treatments would save money and improve care.

Medicare funding challenges will not be solved with incremental change. End-of-life care in our nation will not improve without dramatic and simple payment and insurance change by Medicare. My book, The Journey’s End offers a thoughtful analysis and concrete recommendations based on sound economics to address these concerns.

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