The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) discussed recommendations for 2025 hospice payments on December 7. The commissioners finalized a recommendation for no payment update for hospice services that will be finalized in January for publication in the March report to Congress. While MedPAC makes recommendations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Congress are not obligated to act on the recommendations.
MedPAC Commissioners also reviewed information on non-hospice spending which will be published in the March report including three recommendations for curbing spending:
Create a more inclusive definition of “related” to the terminal illness
Increase the hospice base rate to cover more spending outside the traditional hospice payment
Create payment penalties for hospices with high non-hospice spending rates
Overall, the commissioners are supportive of the core work of hospice providers and the opportunities to expand what is considered needed care under hospice. Concerns were raised about the low-quality ratings in hospice, including the number of agencies with low star ratings—to which one commissioner recommended that hospices with low star ratings should be ejected from the program.