Three More Things to Know About Hospice Care, Part 3

| By Casa de la Luz

Read Three Things to Know About Hospice Care, Part 1 and Part 2.

Patients on hospice care have opted for comfort care only, and forgo curative treatments.
Patients often choose hospice care when they decide curative treatments are no longer the right care option. This may be when the patient stops responding to treatment, or the side effects of treatment worsen the patient’s quality of life. In order to utilize hospice care, patients are required to end any treatments intended to cure the terminal illness. The care emphasis of hospice is comfort, managing patient symptoms and helping the patient experience a greater quality of life at the end of life. Hospice patients have the right to end hospice care at any time.
Medicare continues to cover the costs of health care needs that are not related to your terminal illness.
Your hospice benefit will cover your needs related to the terminal illness. Any services you receive not related to the terminal illness will continue to be covered by your regular Medicare plan. Your hospice team can help you determine what will be covered by the hospice benefit and what won’t.
You have the right to change hospice providers once during each benefit period.
Just as you have a choice in your hospice provider, you have the right to switch hospice providers. When you sign onto hospice, the physician certifies you’re eligible for a period of time, referred to by Medicare as your benefit period. Each eligible patient is signed on for an initial 90-day period and can be re-certified for a second period of 90 days. After the second 90-day period, the physician certifies you for hospice in 60-day periods. 
Every patient has the right to change hospice providers once per benefit period. During this sensitive and emotional time of life, you have the right to choose a provider who will give you the support and care that is right for you. Refer to our article, “How to Prepare for your Hospice Evaluation” and Caring Connection’s  Choosing Hospice document to help you choose a hospice. To locate a hospice provider in your area, visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s website for a directory of providers. If you are in Pima County and in need of hospice services, please call our office at 520-544-9890.
Information compiled from Medicare Hospice Benefit booklet. Click here for a pdf of the booklet.
By Carrie Bui, Communications Specialist
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