The HHS Office of the Inspector General recently issued reports identifying concerns regarding the performance by some hospice providers on quality and safety surveys, as well as potential threats to patient safety. These reports have made a valuable contribution and have fostered important discussions between policymakers and the hospice industry.
In response, Senators Rob Portman and Ben Cardin introduced The Hospice Care Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 2807) which would reform the hospice survey process, improve compliance, and increase transparency related to hospice survey performance.
The Hospice Care Improvement Act of 2019 S. 2807 takes important steps toward addressing the issues identified by the OIG reports by:
- Addressing the need for greater transparency of survey compliance through:
- Requiring uniform collection and reporting of hospice survey findings
- Making survey information publicly available online
- Including stakeholders in the process of identifying key survey findings that link to quality of care for use in published summaries of survey findings
- Requiring annual reports on hospice survey performance
- Making triennial surveys permanent
- Requiring more frequent surveys for hospices subject to intermediate sanctions and new providers entering the program
- Requiring state and accrediting organization surveyors to alert hospices to areas of concern at the time a survey concludes, and to provide educational support to assist with improvement on survey performance
- Development of intermediate sanctions that would include:
- payment suspension
- temporary management
- directed plans of correction
- mandatory staff in-service training
Please urge senators to support this important piece of legislation, which will reform the curent hospice survey process, resulting in improved compliance, increased transparency, and ensure quality hospice care is available to every American who needs it.