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Medicare Extends the Medicare Care Choices Model for Hospice Services

Published July 28, 2020

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended a program that allows hospice patients with Medicare to receive concurrent care.  

The program, called the Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM), was first launched in 2016 and was recently extended through the end of 2021. Providers may enroll eligible beneficiaries in the program as late as June 30, 2021, for services that run through the end of the calendar year. 

What is the Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM)?

The MCCM allows Medicare beneficiaries the option to receive supportive care services provided by Medicare hospice benefits while also receiving treatment from other Medicare providers for their terminal condition. 

Prior to this model being introduced, beneficiaries who elected to receive hospice care could not also receive curative treatment for their condition. Beneficiaries were required to choose between palliative care for comfort or health care intended to cure or treat their condition. 

Why does the CMS experiment with new treatment and coverage models?

The Medicare Care Choices Model aims to determine whether or not beneficiaries would choose to receive hospice support services if they could also continue to receive curative treatment for their condition.

The CMS is also evaluating whether or not concurrent care can improve the quality of life for Medicare beneficiaries getting hospice care, while also improving patient satisfaction and cutting costs. 

Such experiments are not new. Federal law allows Medicare to test out alternative payment and service delivery models that have the potential to reduce expenses while maintaining or improving the quality of care. 

The CMS pays participating providers a fee that ranges from $200 to $400 per patient per month while they are delivering services under the MCCM. These services may include coordination of care, case management, symptom relief and support for families of the beneficiary. 

The model originally included just 30 providers but has since expanded to allow up to 140 participants. As of June 2020, there were 82 hospice care providers enrolled and participating in the program.  

Learn more about Medicare hospice coverage.