OIG: CMS needs to strengthen hospice oversight, transparency

photo of elderly man having heart problems holding his chest
According to a new report that relied on a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services survey of the 4,563 hospices in the U.S. between 2012 and 2016, 87% of hospices had at least one deficiency. (Rawpixel/GettyImages)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) needs to strengthen the oversight of its Medicare hospice program to protect beneficiaries, according to a newly released report (PDF) from the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

According to the report, which relied on CMS' survey of the 4,563 hospices in the U.S. between 2012 and 2016, 87% of hospices had at least one deficiency. The report also found 20% of hospices had serious deficiencies—which they defined as a condition-level deficiency in the quality of care—meaning that "the hospice’s capacity to furnish adequate care was substantially limited, or the health and safety of beneficiaries were in jeopardy." 

The number of hospices with these deficiencies nearly quadrupled between 2012 and 2015 from 74 to 292, according to the report. It dipped slightly in 2016.

RELATED: Patients get more aggressive end-of-life interventions when physicians take over decision-making, study finds

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