In a demonstration project currently underway, CMS is going to reimburse both hospices furnishing palliative care services and providers offering curative care services at the same time. This is a huge departure from the current mode, which allows for the provision of hospice services only after curative services are no longer received.
This initiative is part of the Affordable Care Act. The program is called Choices. The hospice benefit is intended for Medicare recipients that have less than months to live, and generally don't use that benefit until their final days, most likely because they are continuing to seek curative treatments until that time. This practice is costing the Medicare system more money in the latter stages of life.
This project is testing whether beneficiaries will pursue hospice care sooner, therefore possibly increasing their satisfaction while keeping Medicare costs down.
We shall see! Do you think this is a good idea?
See the full article in McKnights: Medicare to cover hospice and curative care simultaneously in new demonstration program - McKnight's Long Term Care News