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What Hospital Systems, Health Plans and Providers Need to Know

Refer your patient to VITAS: Online | Mobile App | 800.873.5198

  1. How can VITAS impact my bottom line?
  2. How can hospice keep end-of-life patients out of the ED before they are admitted?
  3. I need to decrease the LOS of my sickest patients. I need to assure beds for acute-care patients. How does hospice help?
  4. What about patients' perspectives? I need to consider HCAHPS and hospice VBP scoring.
  5. How do I break the cycle of the “super utilizers” who are back in the hospital or ED within 30 days?
  6. How do we identify the restorative potential of these patients when they are present in the ED?
  7. We follow our patients post-discharge to ensure they have good home care. Isn’t that enough?
  8. What are the benefits of hospice services for patients and for health plans?
  9. How does VITAS help reduce med spend?
  10. As an internal medicine physician, I joined a local ACO organization. In my practice, we do identify the patients with advanced illness who are medically a higher risk. How can hospice help me with the care of these patients, who are frequenting the ED and even admitted and readmitted into the hospital?
  11. Who pays for care unrelated to the terminal diagnosis?
  12. I have Medicare Advantage patients in my practice. How does the hospice benefit impact managed care benefits?

How can VITAS impact my bottom line?

Hospice is the right care at the right time in the right place for patients with six months or less to live. These patients are inappropriate for your ED or inpatient beds. They are not improving and getting more independent, as home healthcare patients should. They don’t do well in an acute-care setting. Hospice keeps such patients at home, whether in a private residence, an assisted living community or a nursing home. There are increasing levels of care that support the patient to keep them out of the hospital even when symptoms escalate. And hospice manages emotional and spiritual symptoms as well as physical symptoms, so the whole patient is cared for, as are their loved ones who are immediately involved.

How can hospice keep end-of-life patients out of the ED before they are admitted?

VITAS effectively transitions appropriate patients from the ED, before inpatient admission or aggressive treatment is necessary. Our interdisciplinary team expertly manages symptoms, engages patients holistically and keeps functionally declining patients out of your hospital, making ED resources available while freeing up beds for those who can benefit.

I need to decrease the LOS of my sickest patients. I need to assure beds for acute-care patients. How does hospice help?

A hospice referral begins the process that would move the patient off the hospital rolls and to a more appropriate care setting, leaving acute-care beds for acute-care patients. Asking VITAS to assess your patient for appropriateness for hospice care will facilitate transfer from your facility. 

What about patients' perspectives? I need to consider HCAHPS and hospital VBP scoring.

Patient and family satisfaction improves when patients receive the care they need when they need it, and families attribute that satisfaction to the hospital. Studies show that early and appropriate referrals to hospice improve patient assessment of their pre-hospice care. Most families say they wish they had known about hospice sooner. 

VITAS implements personalized care plans; effectively controls pain; does rapid evaluation, intake and care transitions the patient home, where they want to be; and effectively communicates with patients and families about what hospice care entails

How do I break the cycle of the “frequent fliers” who are back in the hospital or ED within 30 days?

Repeat ED patients and hospital readmissions lead to challenging care episodes; crowding and boarding issues; and suboptimal satisfaction and quality performance measures. Hospice provides a care team in the home five or more times per week. If the patient requires additional skilled care, hospice offers continuous care in the home and inpatient care, depending on the needs of the patient and family. Hospice patients can call their team for assistance day or night, eliminating frightened trips to the ED and hospital readmissions.

How do we identify the restorative potential of these patients when they are present in the ED?

When ED staff recognizes the pattern of a patient presenting repeatedly, and their functional status is declining, it may be time for hospice. Clinicians can arm themselves with the VITAS app or the Apple Watch app, the spiral-bound printed version, or simply with the VITAS referral number: 800.93.VITAS.

FAQ 3

We follow our patients post-discharge to ensure they have good home care. Isn’t that enough?

For many it will be enough. But getting VITAS involved, including a hospice evaluation and a conversation with the patient/family, serves as an aid to planning, including an advance directives discussion, even when it’s not yet time for hospice.

What are the benefits of hospice services for patients and for health plans?

When the goal of reversing an illness is no longer possible, hospice focuses on the patient and family, relieving pain and other symptoms while maintaining dignity, providing peace of mind and attending to physical, emotional and spiritual concerns. In addition, numerous studies demonstrate that increased hospice referrals increased Medicare savings and decreased hospital readmissions, ICU use and hospital deaths.

How does VITAS help reduce med spend?

Members of Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C) can access the Medicare Hospice Benefit under their Medicare Part A Benefit without jeopardizing the established relationship with the Medicare Advantage Plan or their primary care physician. Once a Medicare Advantage patient elects hospice, care related to the terminal diagnosis is paid directly by CMS. VITAS supplies and manages all medication related to the terminal diagnosis, in addition to developing personalized care plans that improve patients’ quality of life, resulting in higher CAHPS® scores and meeting multiple HEDIS® benchmarks.

As an internal medicine physician, I joined a local ACO organization. In my practice, we do identify the patients with advanced illness who are medically a higher risk. How can hospice help me with the care of these patients, who are frequenting the ED and even admitted and readmitted into the hospital?

You are identifying patients who may be hospice appropriate; good. Having the conversation about advance directives and end-of-life care might be the next step. Go to HospiceCanHelp.com for an excellent guide you can send to a family member, read yourself, print and distribute in the office—all ways to make the next step easier for all. With physician, patient and loved ones on board, hospice provides the right care at the right time in the right place, improving quality of life, reducing expenses, helping families cope and keeping seriously ill patients out of the ICU, the hospital and the ED. Arm your group physicians and other possible referral sources with the hospice eligibility reference guide at VITASapp.com.

Who pays for care unrelated to the terminal diagnosis?

[See understanding how hospice is reimbursed]

I have Medicare Advantage patients in my practice. How does the hospice benefit impact managed care benefits?

[See understanding how hospice is reimbursed]