This is not the first time where my membership in NHPCO has made it hard to know what I should or should not say on this blog. In theory, everything that I know to date about the new Medicare Hospice Conditions of Participation is from publically accessible information. In reality, there is no way that I would know everything that I know without the help of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association. NHPCO has done a great job of getting insight and information out to its membership about the new COP’s. They are in the middle of a two day workshop in Baltimore that is being webcast at no charge to NHPCO members. While the subject matter is dry, it is somewhat amazing to get to hear the people from CMS who actually drafted these rules talk about them. There are two women from CMS presenting, and they clearly know this subject well. In the introduction I believe they said one of them had been working on this project for ten years. Having the opportunity to hear those people tell us what they intended when they wrote these regulations has really helped me understand the intent behind the new regs.
With all of that said, I have chosen not to discuss specific regulations on this blog for a few weeks. It is my understanding that there are representatives from each state in the union attending this conference that is being webcast who were invited to learn this material and then teach it to their states. With that in mind, I don’t want anyone to confuse this blog for a place to go to learn the regulations. Even if I started a discussion about some of the specific regulations, there is no way we could cover everything. When you see your state association or some other group offering the seminar that they are preparing for in Baltimore, you need to go. In fact, a bunch of people from your hospice need to go! There is a lot of information here, and the changes are not going to be easy. We, as a hospice industry have our work cut out, and you need to get your organization in the game if it isn’t already.
Between these new regulations, the new billing requirements, the proposed hospice rate cuts, and the possibility of major changes in our payment system on the horizon, I really encourage those of you who are still trying to do hospice in a bubble to come on out and join the rest of the movement. NHPCO is working very hard to keep the industry safe, and they could really use your dues. You could also use their help! I promise you, you are going to be needing help over the next 6-9 months!
No, I do not work for NHPCO. Actually, if you review this blog’s history, you’ll probably find that I have not always been a fan of NHPCO, but we are well past the time where hospices can try to go it alone. We need to speak with one voice, and NHPCO has worked very hard to be that voice for all of us.