Hospice of Northwest Ohio Selected for Medicare Program
Published Thursday, July 23, 2015 by Barb Sharek
Hospice of Northwest Ohio is among 140 hospices nationwide selected to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model. This innovative new program will allow eligible Medicare and dually eligible Medicaid/Medicare beneficiaries to obtain end-of-life supportive care from designated hospices while also receiving curative treatment. Since current Medicare rules prohibit payments for both types of care at the same time, the Medicare Care Choices Model will help determine if it is beneficial to patients, as well as cost effective, for them to have access to hospice care while still fighting their diseases.
Says Judy Seibenick, Executive Director, Hospice of Northwest Ohio, “There always has been a perception that Medicare patients wait too long to receive hospice care because they don’t want to forgo curative care. This model enables them to receive palliative care and other types of support that will help them alleviate the symptoms of their disease or the side effects of treatment. This, in turn, will help prevent trips to the emergency room and readmissions to the hospital. Most important, it will assure better quality of life for patients whether or not they choose to use the traditional Medicare Hospice benefit.
Reimbursement and Eligibility
The hospices that have been selected for this program will be reimbursed $200 to $400 a month by Medicare to help manage the care of enrolled patients. Patients eligible for the program include those who have a terminal diagnosis due to cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or HIV/AIDS, and who have not elected to use the Medicare or Medicaid Hospice benefit in the last 30 days.
Hospice of Northwest Ohio is the only Toledo-based agency that has been selected for this program. “As the community’s hospice, we are pleased and proud to participate in this important study,” states Seibenick. “Nationally, only about 45% of Medicare recipients avail themselves of hospice care before they die. We feel the Medicare Care Choices Model will help improve access to the best possible end-of-life care.”
HHS Explains Program Goals
According to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, an estimated 150,000 Medicare beneficiaries will benefit from this new option, and the flexibility if offers, during the five-year model project. “It is part of a larger effort at HHS to transform our health care system to deliver better care, spend our dollars in a smarter way, and put patients in the center of their care.” It is estimated that the Model will result in cost savings or will be budget neutral.
For more information about the Medicare Choices Program visit http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/Medicare-Care-Choices/.