2017 has proven to be a busy year for the hospice industry. With increased mergers and acquisitions and overall industry growth, this sector has become “one to watch” in healthcare.
According to the latest Home Care Market Report, more than 4,000 agencies are now offering hospice care nationwide, providing care to 1.34 million annually. The same report estimates that from 2016-2019, Medicare spending on hospice care will grow from $18 billion to $21.6 billion.
To better serve patients and their families, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched Hospice Compare in 2017, a public online comparison site. You may recall from our previous blog that the site is designed to help consumers find a hospice agency by allowing them to compare providers, based on the quality of care they deliver to patients.
The website is still in its infancy stages—consumers recently had issues with its search functionality—and the ratings are currently based on CMS’ Hospice Item Set (HIS). However, data from consumers and patients reporting on their experiences will soon be available in 2018 with the incorporation of the CAHPS® (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) Hospice Survey.
Overall, many in the industry see the site as a vehicle that will help bring more standardization, as well as promote quality improvements. This is good news for hospice care, and providers will need to be vigilant with respect to their practices and processes as they face greater transparency and accountability over the coming years.
New Year, New Opportunities
Hospice Compare is just one of the many developments hospice providers should have on their radars. As we look ahead to 2018, hospices, like other healthcare organizations, will continue to face new regulations, higher costs and greater scrutiny by government auditors looking to reduce Medicare fraud and ensure high-quality patient care is provided.
Yet, it is also an exciting time to be in the industry—as new technologies have emerged to help hospices successfully navigate the changes. We’re thrilled to be part of this progress with Optima Hospice, and look forward to what we can accomplish in the New Year to help our customers continue to improve patient care and drive growth with hospice software that is easy to use and keeps them compliant.
To read more about the trends and technologies impacting the hospice care in 2018, download our white paper: Top Six Trends Impacting Hospice Care in 2018