CMS Proposes 2016 Payment Rate Updates for Hospice
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule (CMS-1629-P) to update 2016 Medicare payment rates and the wage index for hospices. The 2016 proposal would give hospices an estimated 1.3 percent ($200 million) increase in their payments. According to “2016 Hospice NPRM CMS-1629-P CMS Updates to the Wage Index and Payment Rates for the Medicare Hospice Benefit,” released on April 30, the increase reflects:
- The distributional effects of the 1.8 percent proposed 2016 hospice payment update percentage ($290 million increase);
- The use of updated wage index data and the phase-out of the wage index budget neutrality adjustment factor (-0.7 percent/$120 million decrease); and
- The proposed implementation of the new Office of Management and Budget Core Based Statistical Areas delineations for 2016 hospice wage index with a one-year transition (0.2 percent/$30 million increase).
The elimination of the wage index budget neutrality adjustment factor is not a policy change, but part of a seven-year phase-out.