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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a final rule that increases Medicare payments to hospices by 2.5% for fiscal year 2012. The payments are the net result of a 3% increase in the hospital market basket, offset by a .5% decrease from the budget neutrality adjustment factor (BNAF) phase-out.
The CMS Hospice Wage Index Rule, which will be published in the Federal Register on Aug. 4, also establishes a new quality of care reporting system for Medicare patients in hospices. Under the new quality reporting system, which will begin in FY 2014, hospices will be required to submit data quality measures to CMS.
Hospices that fail to submit quality data to CMS will be penalized by having their market-basket update factor reduced by 2 percentage points beginning in FY 2014.
The final rule will allow any hospice physician to perform the required face-to-face encounter with the hospice patient, regardless of whether that same physician recertifies the patient's terminal illness and composes the recertification narrative.