Woman wearing blue gown lies in bed with her hand resting on a blanket

Updated hospice transparency is coming. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently disclosed that the August refresh of Care Compare will provide information to consumers regarding Hospice Visits in Last Days of Life (HVLDL), a new claims based measure, along with the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers (CAHPS) Survey Star Rating.

Just last month, the National Quality Forum endorsed HVLDL. The measures reflect the proportion of hospice patients who received in-person visits from a registered nurse or a medical social worker on at least two of the final three days of life. It replaces the Hospice Item Set (HIS)-based measure, Hospice Visits When Death is Imminent (HVWDII).

CAHPS star ratings are also new to Care Compare. But only about half of hospices will have a CAHPS star rating reported, according to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. That is because only a little more than 2,000 hospices met the eligibility criteria to be assigned a star rating during the dry run period for the ratings, NAHC said. Approximately 90% of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in hospice in 2020 were enrolled in a hospice that does have a Star Rating during the dry run.

As part of a recent Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP) quarterly update, CMS reminded providers that beginning with FY 2024, the annual payment update penalty doubles to 4% from 2% for hospices not meeting the HQRP requirements.

CMS has created two new short videos to explain the HQRP and Hospice Care Index (HCI). The latter combines several quality indicators into a single index score that patients and families can readily use to compare their hospice options. With the inclusion of this measure, the HQRP offers patients, families and caregivers a more comprehensive and holistic view when making decisions about hospice care, according to CMS.