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Offered by: Dawn Darvalics, PMP, Director of Quality and Education, Care Synergy

Guidelines on the Hospice Compare website and how it can help

Three years ago the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a useful tool, on the www.medicare.gov/hospicecompare website, that can help anyone when choosing a hospice provider. The Hospice Compare website allows you to easily search for hospices by name or location and compare publicly reported data on hospice providers. The data is divided into five categories, including General Information/Level of Care, Conditions, Location of Care, Family Experience of Care and Quality of Care.

The first category, General Information/Level of Care, defines the four levels of care covered in the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Offering all levels of care, including Respite and Continuous care, are important in identifying how hospices can appropriately care for patients.

Data for the second and third categories — Conditions and Locations of Care — are extracted from Medicare claims to show general characteristics of hospice providers. You can also see the breakdown of where a hospice agency provides most care, such as at home, in an assisted living facility, nursing facility, or inpatient hospice facility.

Finally, the last two categories are most important to consider. These show data on quality measures that hospice agencies are now required to submit. The Family Experience of Care data is a subjective measure of the experience of a patient’s primary caregiver. It comes from the Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey. The data shows what percentage of caregivers would rate their hospice a 9 or 10 (on a scale of 1-10) and what percentage would “definitely” recommend the hospice agency to friends and family.

The last category of data is Quality of Care. It shows the percentage of patients who received at least one visit from a registered nurse, a physician, a nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant in the last three days of life. Also under the Quality of Care tab, you will find scoring on how well hospices are doing when patients are first admitted. You should expect a good hospice partner to receive high scores on this Quality of Care data. It is essentially a straight-forward measure of whether hospice agencies are completing essential care processes or not.

For more information, please visit www.medicare.gov/hospicecompare

The Denver Hospice