OIG Raises Concerns About Hospice Deficiencies

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two reports on July 9th citing survey deficiencies and examples of harm in hospice care.  The OIG reported that 80% of hospices nationally had at least one deficiency when surveyed between 2012 and 2016. Over 300 hospices had at least one serious deficiency or substantiated severe complaint in 2016. These hospices represent 18 percent of all hospices surveyed nation-wide in 2016. The report cited “instances of harm to patients and/or caregivers and hospices taking no action. These cases reveal vulnerabilities in CMS’s efforts to prevent and address harm.”

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) compiled a comprehensive summary of the OIG’s recommendations. Click here to read NHPCO’s full Regulatory Alert.  

“Hospices must be held accountable for meeting Medicare’s requirements and providing the best care possible to dying patients,” said Gina Balkus, CEO of the Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance of New Hampshire. “CMS should improve its oversight of those hospices with a history of serious deficiencies. Our Alliance is committed to providing education and regulatory updates that assist our member hospices in delivering high-quality, person-centered care to people in New Hampshire.”

As Edo Banach, president of NHPCO said in a message to members, ‘These rare instances of poor quality do not define the hospice and palliative care community. We have a shared responsibility to refute the negative perception these stories portray.” Banach encouraged hospice advocates to share their positive hospice stories through the My Hospice campaign.