The impact of sequestration is challenging and potentially devastating for hospice providers. The 2% decrease in payments for services provided as of April 1, 2013 is on top of a -.5% reduction resulting from the 7-year phase out of the budget neutrality adjustment factor (BNAF).
News of layoffs and even hospices closing as a result of this financial pain is all too frequent, especially in light of the increased scrutiny providers are experiencing.
Budget cuts are an ongoing reality for hospices. The challenge is to ensure that the items being cut don’t impact the quality of care at the bedside or compliance with regulations. Short-term cuts that affect these areas will result in potentially irreparable damage to the organization’s ability to provide the quality of care patients and their caregivers deserve.
At the CEO Section Meeting at NHPCO’s recent Management and Leadership Conference there was a robust discussion of practical ways that hospices were already realizing significant savings. Some of the ideas shared included:
Leasing cars for those IDT members who typically drive significant mileage in a given week, which many providers said yielded significant savings;
- Group purchasing agreements;
- Better controls on patient supplies to reduce waste and optimize inventory;
- Implementing “green” initiatives to reduce paper and other costs;
- Utilizing professional volunteers and optimizing volunteer services to supplement administrative staff; and
- Reducing staffing through attrition and reductions in force.
An article in the NHPCO’s NewsLine (October 2012) details several of these and other cost-savings measures that Hospice by the Bay implemented, resulting in a $24 per patient day reduction in costs.
The sequestration cuts, coupled with increased regulatory scrutiny, will continue to present challenges for hospice providers for the foreseeable future.
In solidarity with our hospice subscribers, clients, colleagues, and friends, we are reducing our rates by 2% for new and renewing subscribers to the Hospice Education Network’s Unlimited subscription, effective immediately through June 30, 2013. We believe that staff and volunteer education is so vitally important to ensuring quality care we want to do everything we can to prevent it from being on the chopping block of expenses to cut. To that end, we are also offering an additional month free (13 months for the price of 12) for providers that subscribe or renew prior to June 30, 2013.
Call us today (866 969 7124) if you need more information. Or click here for an order form.
And know that we will continually try to find ways to support the hospice community during these difficult times.
Posted by Terri Maxwell, PhD APRN Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Weatherbee Resources, Inc. & Hospice Education Network Inc.