Early referral greatly enhances the effectiveness of the Hospice team by providing ample time to address both the physical needs of the patient and the practical, emotional and spiritual needs of the entire family. Consistently we often hear the comment: “I wish we had known about hospice much sooner.”
Our clinical care coordinators and admissions team work closely with the referring physician and staff. We are also available to meet with patients and families about hospice services.
To enhance continuity of care, we encourage physicians to oversee their patient's hospice care. The attending physician is eligible for Medicare reimbursement related to care plan oversight and bills for services as usual, develops the plan of care and approves updates, attends Hospice team meetings if desired, and may request the hospice medical director to offer professional consultation. Only the attending physician and Hospice may bill Medicare for services relating to the terminal illness. Pre-authorization is required.
Once a patient is admitted to hospice, one of the hospice medical directors, fully licensed physicians specially trained in end-of-life and pain management care, can coordinate with the referring physician as desired to determine the most effective pain and symptom management program.