Recently, a Texas home hospice care patient went viral online after hundreds of inspired and sympathetic people called and sent well-wishes to terminally ill army veteran, Lee. As the story is reported in the news; the influx of support came after his wife told a friend that the Lee had asked to hold his phone and when she asked why he said, ‘in case someone calls but after a couple hours and no calls he told his wife, ‘I guess no one wants to talk to me.’
In recent reports, A 2009 initiative from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, called the Comprehensive End-of-Life Care (CELC) initiative, a four year study published in Health Affairs, determined that hospice use among male military veterans increased, and that the growth outperformed the enrollment rate of elderly men receiving Medicare in hospice programs who did not serve.
According to news reports about the initiative, the VA invested in a We Honor Veterans” Campaign program via outreach to community providers outside VA medical centers, and also included and goal to create and invest in new inpatient hospice units, palliative care staff, palliative care training, and mentoring for leaders and staff, as well as a systematic quality monitoring program.
The Comprehensive End of Life Care Initiative increased the numbers of VA medical center inpatient hospice units and palliative care staff members as well as the amount of palliative care training, quality monitoring, and community outreach. The found a 6.9–7.9-percentage-point increase in hospice use over time for the veteran categories, compared to a 5.6-percentage-point increase for nonveterans.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is also currently in testing stage of a hospice program that allows Palliative care to continue, called the Medicare Care Choices Model. The report indicates:
MCCM will consist of up to 141 participating hospices with up to 71 participating since the first year of the Model (2016) and up to 70 additional hospices entering the Model in Year 3 (2018). The number may decrease as hospices choose to withdraw or are otherwise terminated from the Model.
The target number of beneficiaries over the life of the Model is 150,000. A beneficiary would be considered eligible if he/she meets all of the following criteria:
• Medicare Part A and B has been primary for at least the last 12 continuous months prior to enrollment in the MCCM MLN Matters MM10094 Related CR 10094
• Has a diagnosis as indicated by certain ICD-10 codes for cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or chronic heart failure (CHF)
• Has had at least one hospitalization encounter (emergency room, observation stay, or inpatient stay) in the last 12 months prior to enrollment
• Has had at least three office visits with any Medicare –certified provider within the last 12
months prior to enrollment
• Meets hospice eligibility and admission criteria as stated in 42 CFR section 418.20, Eligibility requirements, and section 418.25, Admission to hospice care
• Has not elected the Medicare hospice benefit or Medicaid hospice benefit within the last 30 days prior to their participation in the MCCM
Read More about the Medicare Care Choices Model from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)