Issued by CMS in July 2023, the Medicare hospice final rule (CMS-1787-F) included a 3.1% ($780 million) net increase to fiscal year (FY) 2024 payments as compared to a 3.8% ($825 million) hike in FY 2023 payments. The increase will be applied to payment for the four hospice levels of care, including routine home care, continuous home care, general inpatient care, and inpatient respite care. FORVIS will be making the 2024 hospice payment rates available by state and county in the coming weeks.
The hospice aggregate cap also will be adjusted up by 3.1% and will be set at $33,494 for FY 2024. In addition to the rate increase, the rule includes Hospice Quality Reporting Program updates to codify the data completion threshold policy at Section 418.312, HOPE tool, and future quality measures.
Hospice certifying physician enrollment requirements also were finalized in the rule with an implementation deadline of May 1, 2024. Hospices will need to review the requirements and understand what processes they will need to put in place at the time of intake to help ensure that any certifying and/or attending physicians are eligible by being enrolled in or opted out of Medicare. This requirement also will apply to community attending physicians who are not employed by the hospice. We also suggest that hospices work with their electronic medical records vendor to understand how to most effectively validate that physicians are enrolled or validly opted out to prevent claim denials after May 1.