The Hospice Compliance Letter

The Hospice Compliance Letter is a bi-monthly newsletter that I write for subscribers to the Hospice Compliance Network. It focuses on both compliance with government regulations and quality improvement programs by Medicare-certified hospices. The January, 2011, issue included a special, in-depth report on the heightened regulatory scrutiny of hospices by various agents of Medicare, which currently pays about 85 percent of the costs of hospice care in America. Interviews with hospice leaders, consultants and lawyers found considerable impact on hospice providers and on patients’ access to hospice care because of that heightened government scrutiny—most of which targets the problematic question of whether and when seriously ill patients are considered sufficiently terminally ill to qualify for hospice care. However, it is also widely assumed—by government regulators, the national Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the Office of Inspector General and many hospice leaders—that abuses of the hospice benefit by providers are all too common in the $12 billion hospice industry. That makes it harder for hospice advocates trying to do the right thing to effectively challenge government regulators. Click here to read more from this in-depth report on hospice eligibility in the Hospice Compliance Letter, which has been made available publicly because of the importance of the subject.