OIG: Medicare Payments for Hospice Care Need Reform, Accountability

Medicare payments for hospice care carried out in an assisted living facility more than doubled from 2007 to 2012, raising questions about the incentives that Medicare provides for hospice care.

Medicare payments for hospice care carried out in an assisted living facility (ALF) more than doubled from 2007 to 2012, raising questions about the incentives that Medicare provides for hospice care, according to a report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Hospices provided care for longer periods of time to beneficiaries in ALF settings than for beneficiaries in other settings, OIG said—98 days, compared to 50 days for those who stay in a nursing facility. ALFs also received much higher Medicare payments—more than $16,000 per beneficiary, twice the amount of a nursing facility.

In general, hospice care can save money and reduce hospitalizations, along with reducing the need for acute care services. However, OIG has had its eye on hospice care for some time.

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Source: Fierce Health Payer