Hospice Care Improvement Act Introduced in the U.S. Senate by Ohio’s Rob Portman
U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced the “Hospice Care Improvement Act of 2019” last Thursday, November 14. The official language is available for review.
In conversations with LeadingAge, Senator Portman’s office was clear that this was not the final version of the bill, but they wanted to get a placeholder out there while they gather input from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) before making amendments. Additionally, a House companion is still being drafted. The House and Senate offices have been in communication, and there will be work to align the two bills.
The bill is a direct result of two studies by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in July 2019 which identified vulnerabilities in the Medicare hospice benefit, notably related to hospice providers with known deficiencies in care. The reports spurred negative press, including stories by National Public Radio, NBC Nightly News and CNN.
LeadingAge Ohio will keep members informed on the status of this bill. There is a Ways and Means committee hearing on aging this week to discuss this pending legislation.
For questions on this bill and any legislative issue, please contact Susan Wallace, Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.