In a bid to offer better continuity of care, more transitional services and access to palliative support for patients with advanced illness, leading insurer Humana has launched a Medicare Advantage (MA) value-based care model for hospice patients. The company is providing the hospice benefit to members enrolled in certain MA plans in Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Louisville, and the Richmond-Tidewater region of Virginia.
- The program intends to help the company and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) learn whether hospice services provided within the Part A benefits package of Medicare results in additional innovation, enables a more seamless care continuum and improves quality and timely access to palliative and hospice care. It’s part of a four-year demonstration created by the CMS.
- Susan Diamond, president of Humana’s Home business, said, “Too often, patients electing hospice care do so in the final days or weeks of life, rather than at the start of their eligibility. As a result, they and their families miss an opportunity to take full advantage of a wide range of benefits, including improved access to palliative care and caregiver support, as well as important transitional care services. Our goal is to allow for a single continuous care team, as opposed to the handoffs that typically occur today.”
- The demonstration model will be beneficial for a patient with an advanced illness, who is receiving palliative care, elects hospice. Generally, such patients are moved to a new care team based on their chosen provider.
- Under the new model, Humana hopes to create continuity as members transition from advanced illness to palliative to hospice, ideally with the support of the same care team.
- According to Humana, patients electing hospice under fee-for-service coverage today have to forego all curative, transitional concurrent care, whereas the demonstration allows for transitional care to eliminate such an abrupt end to this care and provide greater access to the many additional benefits provided under hospice services.