There are more than 4,000 hospice care agencies across the United States serving more than one and a half million patients.1 This number is expected to steadily grow as patient-centered care paradigms become more commonplace and families look for care capable of working in tandem to ensure physical, mental and emotional care needs are met.
Hospice provides this care via teams known as interdisciplinary groups (IDGs), these hospice teams typically consist of the patient themselves, close family members and a group of highly trained healthcare specialists including doctors, nurses, social work staff and counselors. However, IDGs often struggle to maximize efficiency as they look to balance multiple priorities and treatment plans to deliver the best hospice experience possible.
Here are three ways for IDG teams to reduce complexity and boost overall efficiency.
1. Improve Hospice Billing Transparency
With patients and their families now spending more than $11,000 on average for hospice care, billing transparency is a top priority.2 This is especially critical for IDG teams which includes medical professionals from multiple disciplines, that ensure that the patient receives the right level of care, and also bill appropriately. As a result, both hospice agencies and CMS oversight operations have a vested interest in making sure that costs are consistent, accurate and reflective of services rendered
Cloud-based billing tools can help IDG teams boost billing transparency with anytime, anywhere access. Additionally, combined with automatic compliance alerts, these tools can ensure that services and treatment invoices are aligned with claims submission guidelines.
2. Automate Essential Hospice Operations
Hospice workers are worn down and stressed out as pandemic pressures continue to impact care operations.3 From ongoing staff shortages as workers are required to isolate to the need for socially-distanced video meetings to manage scheduling details and workforce distribution, it’s easy for staff to miss small details in documentation and reporting — details that could nonetheless have significant compliance implications for hospice organizations.
To reduce the risk of reporting errors and minimize time wasted for staff, it’s worth implementing automated tools capable of pre-populating common forms, ensuring electronic IDG signature captures on critical documents and setting virtual meeting agendas for patient care or treatment plan discussions well in advance.
3. Integrate Service Authenticity
With many hospice agencies now moving to a hybrid service model that leverages both in-person and online visits, there’s a growing need to increase service authenticity — to ensure that hospice staff is arriving as scheduled for patient visits, delivering services as described and documenting care efforts to help other IDG team members better align their care efforts.
On-demand sophisticated scheduling and visit tracking tools provide a way to naturally integrate service without requiring extra work from staff. Personalized, per-patient scheduling solutions that allow modification directly from calendar applications combined with automated timesheet creation, can both reduce valuable wasted travel time on the road and mileage reimbursement significantly.
5 Ways to Support Family Caregivers of Hospice Patients
1 CDC, “Hospice Care,” May 20, 2020.
2 Tincture, “The Hidden Costs of Dying in America,” July 2, 2019.
3 The Washington Post, “In a Relentless Pandemic, Nursing-Home Workers Are Worn Down and Stressed Out,” December 3, 2020.