The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) met in late December to discuss Medicare payment policy recommendations for inclusion in its forthcoming annual March Report to Congress. The Commission uses a standard framework to assess payment adequacy, including provider access to capital, financial margins, access to care - including numbers and growth in providers, as well as growth in utilization - and quality when making recommendations. In addition to preliminary approval that the Report recommend elimination of the update for hospice payments in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, Commissioners supported reprinting of previous MedPAC recommendations that have not yet been implemented.
Specifically, those recommendations state that the hospice payment system be reformed to better reflect the costs of hospice care over the course of the episode and that CMS conduct medical review of hospice providers that have a high proportion of long-stay patients. It should be noted that the latter recommendation (related to medical review) had not been implemented by CMS due to a legislative drafting error; that error was corrected as part of the IMPACT Act, which was signed into law in October.
Presentation slides and a transcript of the discussion are available online. MedPAC’s next meeting, at which final votes will be taken on payment recommendations for FY2016, will be held on Jan. 15-16, 2015.
Read more in the NAHC Report.