Bioethics Blogs

Medicare Care Choices Model – Hospice without Forgoing Curative Treatment

Late last month, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden applauded the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for their launch of the Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM) demonstration, which will enable beneficiaries to continue
receiving curative care while enrolling in hospice care at the same time. 

“Today’s announcement marks a significant turning point in hospice care. Electing to enroll in hospice does not have to be a crossroads for millions of Americans and their families. It’s past time to get smart when it comes to health care at the end of life, and I’m hopeful the success of Care Choices will
pave the way for greater access to this kind of care for more Americans.”

Currently, Medicare Hospice Benefit enrollees currently must forgo curative treatment – which oftentimes discourages patients from seeking hospice care that may help them cope with their advanced terminal illness. CMS will study whether access to such services results in improved quality of care and patient and family satisfaction, and whether there are effects on the use of curative services and the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

Due to robust interest, CMS expanded the model from an originally anticipated 30 Medicare-certified hospices to over 140 Medicare-certified hospices and extended the duration of the model from 3 to 5 years. 

According to Medicare claims data, only 44 percent of Medicare patients use the hospice benefit, and most use the benefit for only a short period of time. This model encourages beneficiaries to receive palliative care services that are provided by the MCCM participating hospice concurrently
with services from their curative care provider.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.