As hospices should already be aware, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Abt Associates are currently beta testing a draft standardized hospice patient assessment instrument called Hospice Outcomes & Patient Evaluation (HOPE). Additional hospice providers are needed to complete the testing.
Hospices must be Medicare-certified and training for this round of hospices is anticipated to occur mid-July 2022 with data collection slated to begin in August 2022 and continue through early fall 2022.
CMS is specifically seeking hospice providers with sufficient registered nurse, social worker, and chaplain staffing to conduct at least 1 – 2 joint visits per week. Hospices currently participating in the beta test may be finding this difficult amidst the workforce shortage causing CMS to recruit more hospices.
It appears that CMS is still aiming for completion of the beta testing in early fall of this year. Should this occur, there may be time for CMS to analyze the results of the testing and formulate a proposal for use of the HOPE by all hospices in the FY2024 proposed rule. This proposed rule would be posted in Spring 2023 for public review.
Joint visits are typical in beta testing standardized assessment instruments such as the HOPE for inter-rater reliability, but it is not expected that joint visits will be required when a HOPE tool is implemented in hospice. CMS includes the following additional information about the 1-2 joint visits per week that would occur as part of the HOPE testing: For joint visits, two registered nurses visit one patient at the same time to complete the HOPE nurse assessment. Two social workers visit the patient at the same time to complete the HOPE social work assessment, and two chaplains visit the patient at the same time to complete the HOPE chaplain assessment. One of the two registered nurses, social workers and chaplains may attend their joint visit via video call, such as Zoom. HOPE assessments are completed at hospice admission, for symptom reassessment and at live discharge.
Recruitment will continue until CMS reaches the desired number of participants (number not specified). Those interested in participating should email HOPETesting@abtassoc.com by June 30, 2022.