The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published a proposed rule to establish FY 2019 Medicare hospice reimbursement rates and policies. The proposed rule would increase FY 2019 hospice rates by 1.8% ($340 million), based on the 2.9% inpatient hospital market basket update, which is reduced by both a 0.8 percentage point multifactor productivity adjustment and a 0.3 percentage point adjustment mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The annual update is reduced by 2 percentage points for hospices that fail to report required quality data. CMS proposes to update the FY 2019 hospice cap to $29,205.44, an increase of 1.8% over the 2018 level.

The proposed rule also would: codify a Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 provision expanding the definition of attending physician to include physician assistants; make technical revisions to the regulatory definition of ‘‘cap period”; and revise hospice quality reporting program requirements, including the timeline for data submission, the measures reported, and how measures are displayed on Hospice Compare. CMS also describes monitoring activities to assess the impact of hospice reform policies finalized in the FY 2016 hospice final rule, and it reports on trends in hospice utilization and expenditures. Furthermore, as with the other FY 2019 Medicare payment proposed rules, CMS includes a Request for Information (RFI) on ways to promote interoperability and electronic healthcare information exchange, including through possible new or revised conditions of participation. CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule and the RFI until June 26, 2018.