Hospice chosen to participate in Medicare test program


Special to the Daily News



LEXINGTON — Hospice of the Bluegrass has been selected to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model. Through the model, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will provide a new option for Medicare beneficiaries to receive palliative care services from certain hospice providers while concurrently receiving services provided by their curative care providers. CMS will evaluate whether providing hospice services can improve the quality of life and care received by Medicare beneficiaries, increase patient satisfaction, and reduce Medicare expenditures.

Under current payment rules, Medicare and dually eligible beneficiaries are required to forgo curative care in order to receive services under the Medicare or Medicaid Hospice Benefit.

Fewer than half of eligible Medicare beneficiaries use hospice care and most only for a short period of time.

The model is designed to:

• Increase access to supportive care services provided by hospice;

• Improve quality of life and patient/family satisfaction;

• Inform new payment systems for the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

“Currently, many people who have life-limiting illnesses must choose between curative treatment or the support services provided through hospice care,” said Liz Fowler, Hospice of the Bluegrass President and CEO.”

Hospices across the country were invited to apply to participate in the model. Due to robust interest, CMS expanded the model from an originally anticipated 30 Medicare-certified hospices to over 140 Medicare-certified hospices and extended the duration of the model from three to five years. This is expected to enable as many as 150,000 eligible Medicare beneficiaries with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome who receive services from participating hospices to experience this new option and flexibility.

For 37 years, Hospice of the Bluegrass has provided quality end-of-life care and support for terminally ill patients in their homes, nursing facilities and at the Hospice Care Centers in Lexington and Hazard. Hospice of the Bluegrass, a non-profit organization, never denies services because of an inability to pay. Support and bereavement services extend to family members, caregivers and anyone in grief in the community. Hospice of the Bluegrass serves more than 600 patients daily in 32 central, southeast and northern Kentucky counties.

Special to the Daily News

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