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What is Hospice?
The healthcare community is making a concerted effort to educate patients, their healthcare agents and families about the Medicare Hospice Benefit (MHB) so they can make an informed care decision that meets the wishes of the patient or loved one.
Hospice is appropriate when a patient seeks “comfort care" and is no longer interested in curative therapies (i.e. rehabilitation).
Typical services include physical care, short-
The hospice benefit does not cover (1) any treatments intended to cure a terminal illness, (2) prescription drugs (except for pain & symptom management), (3) care from any provider not set up by the selected hospice agency, (4) room and board (i.e. assisted living) and (5) hospital-
Eligibility for the hospice benefit includes: (1) having Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), (2) primary care physician (PCP) or nurse practicioner (NP) and hospice physician certify a terminal illness with 6 months or less to live, (3) patient or their agent accepts palliative care for comfort instead of care to cure the illness and (4) patient or their agent signs a statement choosing hospice over other Medicare options.
The first step to exploring the hospice option is to request a one-
Hospice care is provided in benefit periods. If a patient lives beyond 6 months, they can continue under hospice care if the hospice medical director re-
In summary, hospice care is a wonderful Medicare benefit if your loved one wishes to be comfortable and seeks to live well in their final season of life.
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