Archive for Benefits – Page 2

Hospice and 86 Bucks

blog-patient-doctor-communicationWhat is 30 minutes of your time worth?

For a physician meeting a patient covered by Medicare, that half-hour may be worth $86.00 in reimbursements.

Eighty-six bucks. For what?

Something remarkable is now available as a Medicare benefit. Based on guidelines approved in 2015, a person covered by Medicare can have a reimbursable conversation with their doctor about “advanced care planning,” which could include hospice. This became official in January 2016.

About seven years ago, this $86 physician-patient chat was lambasted as a “death panel,” with a faceless, faithless government discerning who’d die and who’d live. In August of 2009, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin famously (or infamously) warned,

Seniors and the disabled “will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.”

Seven years after the “death panel” headlines (or nonsense, depending on your view of Ms. Palin’s fears), what will the $86 get you? Read More →

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The Third R: Hospice Recertification*

graduation-300x205I heard about a guy that ordered a T-shirt in anticipation of his hospice nurse’s final home visit. Even in the digital age, it took a bit of planning to get the shirt created and delivered.

Though I’m making up parts of the story I don’t recall, I’m probably not far wrong . . .

So, when the nurse entered the room where his rented hospital bed was located, the patient pulled back the sheets to reveal his new fashion statement. On the shirt, in bold letters, it read: Read More →

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The Second R: Hospice Respite*

restI’m not practicing what I’m about to preach on respite* in hospice.

But I have good excuses! (Doesn’t everyone?)

In hospice, a family should consider Medicare’s respite benefit when the patient—when your loved one—has been receiving care for an extended period of time.

Respite is rest. Respite is taking a break from the intensive and extensive support of a beloved family member or friend who is dying. Respite, based on the guidelines of the Medicare hospice benefit, can be for up to five days.

But taking a break is the proverbial easy to say and hard to do.

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Let me give you a trivial personal example of the need we can have for respite. Read More →

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