A palliative care patient receives care
Credit: Hispanolistic/Getty Images

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services late Monday disclosed that it will conclude the Hospice Benefit Component of the Value-Based Insurance Design Model at the end of this year.

“After carefully considering recent feedback about the increasing operational challenges of the Hospice Benefit Component and limited and decreasing participation among [Medicare Advantage Organizations] that may impact a thorough evaluation, CMS has decided to conclude the Hospice Benefit Component as of December 31, 2024, 11:59 PM,” CMS said on its website.

Hospice providers applauded the move.

“This is a huge victory for patients’ access to quality care and for hospice providers who have continually identified challenges with this demonstration including concerns about VBID giving MAOs the ability to limit patient choices,” Ben Marcantonio, COO and Interim CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, said in a statement. “NHPCO has advocated for years to end the VBID hospice carve-in and appreciate CMS making this important change. We saw great success with concurrent care tested through the Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM) and would encourage CMMI to consider these learnings as a potential path forward.”

Hospice providers have voiced many concerns in recent years about the hospice VBID program. Just last month, LeadingAge and the NHPCO sent letters urging CMS to implement safeguards in the program, citing opposition to MAOs’ use of closed networks to control service utilization, and worries about prior authorization.

CMS will continue the VBID model next year without the hospice component. It extended the model from 2025 to 2030 last year.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.