Stimulus bill delays cuts to Medicare, hospice programs saved

With a quick swipe of his pen, President Barack Obama preserved the funding for more than 4,700 hospices around the country that will continue to offer end-of-life services to more than 1.4 million patients and their families.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included a law that issued a one-year moratorium on Medicare funding cuts, which would have taken away $135 million from hospice facilities in fiscal year 2009.

Stimulus bill delays cuts to Medicare, hospice programs saved The law also saved approximately 3,000 jobs of hospice caregivers that were threatened to be this cut this year.

For the past year, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), the Alliance for Care at the End of Life and hospice advocates have worked to overturn a 2008 regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which would have eliminated a key component of the Medicare hospice reimbursement formula.

"It's important that we continue to build upon the momentum that we have now to ensure that patient access is protected in future years by permanently overturning these devastating rate cuts," said J Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of NHPCO.

NHPCO leaders are scheduled to meet with CMS on February 19th to address the one-year moratorium.

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