Medicare program invites local hospice

Washington editor

 Visiting Nurse & Hospice Home of Fort Wayne is among 140 hospices across the nation invited to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model.

The program will allow eligible Medicare beneficiaries to obtain end-of-life supportive care from hospices while also receiving curative treatment, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Monday.

Current Medicare rules prohibit payments for both types of care at the same time.

CMS said it expects as many as 150,000 terminally ill Medicare recipients to qualify. CMS will pay hospices a per-patient monthly fee that ranges from $200 to $400.

“This model empowers clinicians, beneficiaries and their families with choices,” Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.

Burwell said the program “puts patients in the center of their own care.”

The program will last 5 years. About half of the participating hospices will be randomly selected to begin providing services on Jan. 1, and the other half will start in 2018.

Indiana hospices invited to take part include Visiting Nurse & Hospice Home, Fishers-based Community Home Health and Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health Hospice. Invited Ohio providers include Hospice of Northwest Ohio, which has centers in Toledo; Perrysburg, Ohio; and Lambertville, Michigan.