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New benchmark tool available for hospices

A new tool from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization gives hospice decision-makers the information they need to compare their program against like-sized hospices.

The National Summary of Hospice Care — Peer Reports provides reports that include information on referral sources, length of service, payer mix, staffing characteristics, patient visits, and volunteer services. Reports are available by agency-size and type and can be purchased by sending a request to nds@nhpco.org. Providers who submitted data to the 2009 National Data Set can purchase the Peer Reports set for $150. Non-participants can purchase the Peer Reports set for $300.

Publication targets hospice payments

The revised Medicare Learning Network publication titled "Hospice Payment System" (September 2010) is now available in downloadable format at http://www.cms.gov/MLNProducts/downloads/hospice_pay_sys_fs.pdf.

This publication provides information about the coverage of hospice services, certification requirements, election periods, how payment rates are set, patient coinsurance payments, caps on hospice payments, and the hospice option for Medicare Advantage enrollees.