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In this episode, Husch Blackwell’s Meg Pekarske is joined by colleague Stephanie Kaiser for a rich conversation on what it means for a hospice board to carry out its fiduciary duties and how this relates to the role and responsibilities of hospice executives. Through counseling and training boards across the country, Stephanie has gained unique insights on the inner workings of boards, and breaks down what good governance looks like in action. Stephanie debunks common misconceptions on what defines a “good” board and provides practical tips on how hospice executives can and should engage and inform their boards. We also discuss when boards and individual members are liable and how to guard against such claims.
Continue Reading Working Together: Tips for Ensuring A Compliant Relationship Between You and Your Hospice Board

No employer wants a union. While unions have not had deep presence in hospice, hospice employers are not immune to unionization efforts.

In this session, Meg Pekarske is joined by her colleagues Jon Anderson and Tom O’Day, who offer their insights on what makes unions attractive to employees and what you can do about it.

COVID-19 has affected all aspects of hospice care, operations and personnel, including the person whose judgment is at the center of the Medicare hospice benefit: the hospice physician. In this episode of Hospice Insights, we discuss the increased significance of, and scrutiny applied to, hospice physicians in the age of COVID-19, and identify potential traps

Many hospices understand the general framework established for use of relief payments from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, many questions remain about how to evaluate whether specific expenses and losses may be covered by the relief fund.

Join attorneys from Husch Blackwell’s Hospice & Palliative Care team and accounting professionals from Crowe as they discuss commonly asked questions from hospices across the country. They will share legal and accounting perspectives as well as practical considerations to help hospices as they operationalize their use of relief payments. Register here: https://bit.ly/2LNbLZ0
Continue Reading COVID-19 Town Hall for Hospices Legal and Accounting Perspectives on Commonly Asked Provider Relief Fund Questions

Consistent with NHPCO’s recent regulatory guidance, you may have received an unexpected payment on or about Friday, April 10th via Optum Bank with “HHSPAYMENT” as the payment description. That payment was from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (“Relief Fund”) which was set up pursuant to the CARES Act to provide $100 billion of relief funding to healthcare providers. The payment received is from the first $30 billion of the total $100 billion Relief Fund. The payment is not a loan; it is a grant that the hospice can use for qualified expenses and losses that meet a series of Terms and Conditions.
Continue Reading Tools for Your Hospice Toolbox: How to Evaluate, Allocate and Track the Use of CARES Act Relief Payments (An Introduction)

In today’s COVID-19 edition of the Hospice Labor and Employment Trends series, Meg Pekarske talks with colleague Tom O’Day about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As one of Husch Blackwell’s healthcare-focused employment attorneys, Tom is uniquely situated to interpret the FFCRA for healthcare providers of all kinds, including hospices. Listen to our Hospice

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) confirmed that hospice physicians and nurse practitioners who serve as a patient’s attending physician (“NPs”) can use telehealth to perform medically necessary visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist hospices in evaluating the feasibility of using telehealth for medically necessary visits with Medicare patients, Husch Blackwell has created a “Hospice Telehealth Flowchart.” The Flowchart addresses important operational considerations as well as the Medicare requirements related to rendering and billing for such telehealth visits.
Continue Reading Tools for Your Hospice Tool Box: Telehealth Flowchart for Billable Hospice Physician and Nurse Practitioner Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) goes into effect today, April 1, 2020, and applies to leave taken between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.  The FFCRA expands certain medical leave rights previously established by the Family and Medical Leave Act (“E-FMLA”) to provide up to twelve (12) weeks of paid, job-protected leave for employees with school closure or childcare coverage issues related to the current coronavirus pandemic.  The FFCRA also provides for two (2) weeks of paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“E-PSLA”) for certain COVID-19-related reasons (the E-FMLA and E-PSLA are collectively referred to as “Expanded Leave”).[1]  However, employers who employ “health care providers” may, but are not required to, exempt these individuals from Expanded Leave.  Most, if not all, of a hospice’s employees will fall within the broad definition of “health care provider.”  Therefore, hospices will need to evaluate who of its employees it will exempt or not, being certain to treat similarly situated employees equally and to consider the potential impact to its workforce.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Hospice How-To Series: Application of the FFCRA “Health Care Provider” Exemption to Hospices

In this episode, your Hospice Team shares insights on operationalizing recent government guidance for hospices facing coronavirus obstacles. We discuss the role of virtual visits, how to use telehealth, and the practical impact of the Medicare appeal waiver. Listen to the full episode here: https://bit.ly/2JmhkMV