Hospice & Palliative Care

Throughout the COVID pandemic, healthcare employers have navigated the challenge of balancing safety concerns with employee requests for religious exemption from the vaccine.  Since lifting the stay of the CMS rule requiring certain healthcare workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the US Supreme Court (Court) has refused to enjoin state and city vaccine mandates for workers who seek religious exemptions from such mandates. On March 7, 2022, the full Court rejected, without comment, an emergency application for an injunction that was previously denied by Justice Sotomayor to prevent enforcement of the New York City Department of Education’s COVID-19 mandate against suspended workers who refused vaccination based on religion.  In the wake of continued challenges to vaccine mandates based on religion, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), released guidance on March  1, 2022 that addresses questions related to religious objections to vaccinations in the workplace. Healthcare employers should ensure that assessment of requests for religious exemptions for vaccine mandates comports with EEOC guidance.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues Employer Guidance for COVID-19 Vaccinations and Religious Objections

Welcome to an inspiring conversation on how story can help us reconnect with mission, staff and communities. As hospices face unprecedented staffing shortages and a burnt-out workforce, a key to thriving may be to re-engage with our human essence, which can be found through story. Today’s guest, Dr. Bertice Berry, PhD, explains humans are hardwired for story—it is how we connect, reflect and grow. So how do we use storytelling as a leadership tool? The Institute for Story’s upcoming conference on Advancing the Science of Story and Storytelling intends to help leaders do just that.
Continue Reading Hospice Leadership Strategy: Re-engaging Staff and Communities With Story

For many healthcare employers, phase one and phase two COVID-19 vaccine deadlines are either here or quickly approaching. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), in an exercise of enforcement discretion, has begun monitoring covered CMS provider and supplier types for implementation of COVID-19 staff vaccination requirements in accordance with the COVID-19 Healthcare Staff Vaccination

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently announced that its 2022 work plan for hospices will include a nationwide review of hospice beneficiary eligibility. In this episode, Husch Blackwell’s Meg Pekarske and Bryan Nowicki discuss what led to this latest effort by the OIG, what hospices can expect and what they should do. Listen today:

In this episode of the COVID-19 Hospice How-To Series, we discuss the most pressing vaccination issues and how to navigate them. Our team explores strategies for handling vendors, the role unvaccinated staff can have in direct patient care, obligations to require boosters and what enforcement may look like. This episode contains many helpful insights,

Hospices’ unique regulatory and business environment impacts how they contract with and relate to other private entities. In this episode, we discuss the many kinds of hospice-related contracts and contract-dispute matters they have worked on, and how their clients benefitted from their in-depth knowledge of hospices. Tune at: https://bit.ly/3JRIObe

Hospices and the False Claims Act Series

The False Claims Act (FCA) is the government’s most serious weapon to combat fraud in the healthcare community, and hospices are increasingly the target of FCA investigations and lawsuits. The United States Supreme Court is, for the first time, considering FCA cases involving hospices and certifications of terminal

Strategic Restructuring for the Future: Exploring How Hospices Are Using Joint Ventures, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Service Diversification to Transform

Change, transformation, disruption: whatever you want to call it, it’s happening in the hospice industry over the next 5 years. It is unquestionable that the carve-in to Medicare Advantage, the rise of value-based care and steady market consolidation is changing the playing field. How do hospices respond? In this series, we explore how hospices are and can restructure their businesses. We discuss the opportunities and limits of different models: palliative care, affiliations for payor contracting or the more transformative change brought through a merger or acquisition. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, hospices can explore new ways of being. We are excited to guide you on this road and hope these conversations help as you explore these important questions within your organization and determine your best path into the future.
Continue Reading Strategic Restructuring for the Future, Think Before You Sign: Five Key Insights for VBID and Managed Care Contracts

Surprise! This morning a federal court in Missouri has ordered the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) not to enforce the vaccine mandate in these states: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Watch for the CMS/Biden Administration response today!

This month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) applicable to employers of 100 or more employees. The ETS requires employers to adopt a vaccine mandate obligating employees to either get vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing.
Continue Reading Stay Prepared: Create Your Customized COVID-19 Policy