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One-year moratorium on hospice funding cuts
Hospices have one additional year to work on overturning the elimination of the hospice wage index that was mandated in a 2008 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation. The signing of H.R. 1 - The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by President Obama included the one-year moratorium.
The move to remove the hospice wage index from reimbursement calculations is part of CMS' goal of eliminating the budget neutrality factor. In effect, the elimination of the budget neutrality factor would result in a loss of $135 million in hospice dollars for fiscal year 2009 and more in the next two years of the implementation of the regulation.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) has worked with other hospice organizations and elected officials to overturn the regulation. "It's important that we continue to build upon the momentum that we have now to ensure that patient access is protected in future years by permanently overturning these devastating rate cuts," said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of NHPCO.