Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some more discussion on hospice works

A note on hospice benefits: Once a patient enters a Medicare-approved hospice program, the Medicare hospice program pays for hospice services and for medical services and prescription drugs related to the condition (for example, heart failure or cancer) that led to the admission. Other medical services related to other conditions not causing the admission would be paid in a conventional way through Medicare, but all care is coordinated through the hospice (with special billing procedures).

Although hospice provides some home care with items like bathing, the patient (and therefore the patient’s family) is still responsible for proving (either in person or by hiring from a home health company) companionship, safety and custodial care, with necessary and appropriate continuity. In states with filial responsibility laws, adult children able to pay can be held responsible for these costs. (However, many hospices offer short respite stays to relieve caregivers or family members.) Hospice services do continue during hospital stays, skilled nursing stays, and can be arranged in assisted living and nursing home settings. (Assisted living facilities cannot themselves provide medical services other that prescription medication management, but the patient or family can bring services in from hospice.)

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