Hospice Benefit Providers
The hospice care benefit is available from a variety of sources. Medicare, Medicaid, managed care programs and, in most cases, private insurance companies provide coverage for hospice care.
Most of our patients are eligible for Medicare coverage. Hospice of the Sacred Heart’s services are fully reimbursable by Medicare at no cost to the patient. Hospice of the Sacred Heart requires no co-payments for our services from our Medicare patients.
Patients are eligible for Medicare Hospice Benefits if:
- They are eligible for Medicare Part A (also called the hospital insurance portion of Medicare)
- The patient’s doctor and our Medical Director certify that the patient has a life-limiting illness or condition
- The patient chooses to discontinue treatments aimed at attempting to cure the disease or condition and elects to receive only treatment that eases pain and discomfort
- A Medicare-certified hospice agency, such as Hospice of the Sacred Heart, provides the care
Under the Medicare Hospice Benefit, beneficiaries elect to receive palliative care, defined as treatment that helps ease pain and discomforting symptoms, rather than trying to cure an illness or condition. Note that by accepting the hospice benefit of Medicare, the patient waives Medicare coverage for treatment of the life-limiting illness or condition. However, the patient may continue to use Medicare Part A benefits for treatment of illnesses or conditions unrelated to the life-limiting illness.
Medicare Hospice Benefits include:
- Physician services related to the life-limiting illness or condition
- Regular home care visits by a Registered Nurse
- Visits by our nursing staff for such services as dressing and bathing
- Non-denominational Chaplain services for the patient and the family, as desired
- Social Worker and counseling services
- Medical equipment such as a hospital bed, wheelchair, shower stool or walker
- Medical supplies such as bandages, catheters and adult diapers
- Prescription drugs to control symptoms and relieve pain
- Dietary counseling
- Any therapy including physical, speech, occupational
- Respite care
- Bereavement counseling
Managed Care/HMO/Private Insurance
We will work with you and your hospice benefit provider to maximize any hospice benefits available. Managed care organizations must allow patients or their families to select the hospice agency of their choice.
However, you should consult with your insurance provider to determine the type and amount of coverage it provides for hospice care.
For those who may elect to do so, we also accept direct payment from the patient for our services.
There are also other non-profit, not for profit and charitable sources that provide hospice care services. Should you require such a resource, we will be happy to provide referrals and assistance to help you in your search for care. However we provide hospice services to any patient regardless of their ability to pay.
Please note that your Medicare Hospice Benefit does not cover the following types of care:
- Treatment to cure a patient’s life-limiting illness or condition
- The philosophy of hospice is to provide comfort and care, including medication, which helps control symptoms and ease pain. Patients receiving treatments to cure their disease are not eligible for hospice care, except possibly as mentioned in the Private Insurance section above
- Care from two hospice providers
- Patients must elect to receive service from a single hospice care provider. However, the patient may change providers at any time
- Room and board in nursing homes, residential assisted living homes, retirement homes or other similar facilities
Under certain conditions, Medicare does provide coverage for nursing home care, if the patient enters the nursing home directly from the hospital. However, this coverage should not be confused with hospice care coverage under the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
Companion caregivers, aides, attendants, sitters or homemakers
One of the basic philosophies of the Medicare Hospice Benefit is that primary hands-on patient care is provided by the patient’s spouse, significant other, partner, family members or other loved ones, as may be appropriate. There is no provision in the Medicare Hospice Benefit to pay for these types of services. Unless you have private insurance that provides coverage for these services, you will be responsible for the costs of such services.
The patient’s physician can continue to treat illnesses or conditions not related to the terminal illness.
When the patient requires treatment for illnesses or conditions not related to his/her hospice care, the patient’s Medicare Part A coverage will still apply, as will most private medical insurance policies. In the case of private insurance coverage, the patient may have to meet deductibles and co-insurance amounts.
For information about Medicare health plans, refer to the Medicare handbook or website at www.Medicare.gov. If you have personal insurance coverage, please refer to your policy.