November 05, 2015                                                                                                                      [PDF Version]


NHPCO Extends Wishes for a Happy National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and reminds members that our offices will be closed on Wednesday, November 11 in honor of Veteran’s Day.


NHPCO Regulatory Alert: Final Physician Fee Schedule Rule to Cover Care Planning Discussions…  On Friday, October 30, CMS posted the CY2016 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule (PDF). Under the final rule, CMS establishes Medicare coverage for two Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for advance care planning, effective for use for services provided on or after January 1, 2016. Read the Alert


OIG Posts FY2016 Work Plan for Hospice and Palliative Care This Week…  For hospice, there will be a continued focus on hospice general inpatient care, specifically:

  • Assessment of the appropriateness of hospices’ general inpatient care claims.
  • The content of election statements for hospice beneficiaries who receive general inpatient care.
  • Review of hospice medical records to address concerns that this level of hospice care is being billed when that level of service is not medically necessary.
  • Review of beneficiaries’ plans of care and determine whether they meet key requirements.

Future planning efforts for FY 2016 and beyond will include: additional oversight of hospice care, including oversight of certification surveys and hospice-worker licensure requirements.


For palliative care, two new areas of scrutiny include:

  • Physician home visits–reasonableness of services.
  • Prolonged services – reasonableness of services.

Read the NHPCO summary of hospice and palliative care related issues (PDF) or find the complete Work Plan on the OIG site (PDF). 

CR 9226: Timeframes for Submission and No Response to Additional Documentation Requests… CR 9226 (PDF), posted by CMS, extends the due date for submitted documentation from providers, requested by the Medicare Administrative Contractors, Comprehensive Error Rate Testing and Recovery Auditors.

CMS Provides Information on the Part D Recoupment…  In a question posed to CMS related to Part D plan sponsors recouping money from hospice for drugs paid by the Part D plan during a hospice election period, CMS provided the following response:

We consider this a coordination of benefits issue and the timeframe for COB is 36 months from the fill date. Sponsors are required to initiate recovery within 45 days from the date they have complete information necessary to make the recoupment request.  These timeframes are in regulation at §423.466—Timeframes for coordination of benefits and claims adjustments.

(a) Retroactive claims adjustments, underpayment refunds, and overpayment recoveries. Whenever a sponsor receives information that necessitates a retroactive claims adjustment, the sponsor must process the adjustment and issue refunds or recovery notices within 45 days of the sponsor's receipt of complete information regarding claims adjustment.

(b) Coordination of benefits. Part D sponsors must coordinate benefits with SPAPs, other entities providing prescription drug coverage, beneficiaries, and others paying on the beneficiaries' behalf for a period of 3 years from the date on which the prescription for a covered Part D drug was filled.

The NHPCO Compliance Monitor Webpage has been Updated…. Check out the new items.

New Survey Readiness Tips Posted… New tips to assist providers with survey readiness have been posted on the NHPCO Survey Readiness Initiative webpage. Check it out.


Moments of Life Releases New Video!  Watch Nikita, a pet therapy dog, visit two Veterans under the care of Heartland Hospice. See the Veterans become visibly transformed by her presence. Watch “Nikita’s Misson” now – and share it with others.


Webinar Topics Requested by Members… The 2016 NHPCO Webinar line-up offers two Webinars a month on a variety of topics that members have requested, such as Compliance and Volunteer Programs, LGBT Eldercare, and Spiritual Suffering. There are familiar offerings as well, like Regulatory Hot Topics, Performance Improvement, and Pain & Symptom Management. Webinars in 2016 are only one hour in length and prices have gone down over 2015 rates. Buy a package by 12/31/15 and save up to 20 percent. Download the early-bird order form (PDF) or visit the website to purchase and save!

Just Released: 2016 Instructor-Led Online Modules… Review our offering of instructor-led modules that are part of NHPCO’s Hospice Manager Development Program for 2016. These modules offer high quality training from the comfort of your home or office and opportunities to learn with colleagues across the country. 

E-OL Deals for Professionals Working with Veterans… Are you a Veteran? Or a professional working with Veterans? Since 25% of dying Americans are Veterans, you are working with them whether you realize it or not! We have you covered on Veterans Day and beyond. Visit our We Honor Veterans course catalog, and sign up for free courses on E-OL, NHPCO’s online learning portal.

Register for MLC 2016 Today… Be among the first to register for NHPCO’ 31st Management and Leadership Conference, April 21 – 23, 2016. You’ll enjoy the lowest registration rates now!


Social Media Push on Friday… The first Friday during National Hospice and Palliative Care Month (November 6 this year) is a day of social media activity where all hospice providers and supporters are encouraged to share examples of the special moments that hospice and palliative care make possible. Post throughout the day Friday on your organization or your personal social media, and use the hashtags #HospiceMonth and #MoreMoments to help us raise awareness!

Development, PR, and Marketing Mentoring… Application Deadline is just around the corner.  Applications for mentors and mentees are due Sunday, November 8, in the time zone of your choosing.  We are seeking both mentors and mentees. New or Experienced - mentoring is for you. Learn more online.

Mentoring For Volunteer Managers… The NCHPP Volunteer/Volunteer Management Section is recruiting mentees and mentors for its 2016 Mentoring Program that matches new volunteer managers with seasoned leaders for a six-month mentorship. For more information or to apply visit the section’s webpage

Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Proposal… With grant success rates falling in the 5% (Federal grants) to 25% range, you want to do all you can to increase the likelihood that your efforts will prove fruitful. Steering Committee member Tasha Beauchamp, MSc will share tips she learned when writing grant proposals to the National Institute on Health. "Grantsmanship" is not rocket science, but you do need to be diligent. The chat will cover the review process and ways you can position your proposal to make it successfully through the gauntlet. November 12 at 1:00 pm EST Register online.

Recognizing and Responding Appropriately to Spiritual Distress… Spiritual distress is common at the end of life. Recognizing and responding appropriately to spiritual pain is an important part of our care. CNAs are an equally important part of the team, and can make a huge difference in people's spiritual comfort while also respecting the professional boundaries we must all follow. Join us for the November CNA Section Chat - November 19 at 3:00 pm EST. Register online.

Check out the full chat schedule on MyNHPCO

10 Myths of Decision-Making Capacity... As hospice social workers, we are often looked to in determining mental status. Due to the complexity of the situations and patients this can be a difficult task with many gray areas. The chat incorporated case review to illustrate key points including how you can use this information to advocate for appropriate patient driven decision making. Watch this chat on  MyNHPCO.


The Washington Post recently featured a multi-part series looking at issues involved in death and dying. Providers will be interested in this thoughtful series that includes such articles as:


NewsBriefs is a weekly publication provided to
members of the National Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization,
© NHPCO, 2015.

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