CMS Issues Home Health CoPs 

January 9, 2017 - CMS issued the final rule for Home Health Conditions of Participation on January 9, 2017. CMS makes several references to the hospice CoPs in the preamble, citing that the home health CoPs will have similar requirements to hospice in the new comprehensive assessment, care planning, and quality assessment and performance improvement CoPs. The four new CoPs established include patient rights; care planning, coordination of services and quality of care; quality assessment and performance improvement (QAPI); and infection prevention and control. View the final CMS Conditions of Participation for Home Health Agencies (PDF). 

CMS Releases 2016 Opioid Misuse Strategy 

January 9, 2017 - On Monday, January 9, 2017, CMS released the 2016 Opioid Misuse Strategy, outlining initiatives to address the national opioid abuse and misuse epidemic. The efforts of the Agency are in four priority areas:  1)  Implement more effective person-centered and population-based strategies;  2) Expand naloxone use, distribution, and access, when clinically appropriate;  3) Expand screening, diagnosis, and treatment of opioid use disorders; and 4) Increase the use of evidence-based practices for acute and chronic pain management.  CMS states in the executive summary that these opioid misuse strategies DO NOT include CMS’s vision for the treatment of cancer and hospice patients. Treatment of patients in these situations requires careful medical supervision based on therapeutic goals, ethical considerations, and the balance of risks and benefits of opioid therapy. It is worth noting that the exclusion is specific to cancer and hospice patients. Patients receiving palliative care are not specifically mentioned in this CMS Opioid Misuse Strategy. Download for a full copy of the strategy (PDF) on the CMS website.

Pharmacy Times, January 15, JoAnna Lewis

Oncology pharmacists play an important role in the delivery of care to patients living with cancer. Historically, pharmacists have focused on operational roles in the pharmacy, with an emphasis on dispensing accurate and safe medications. However, as cancer treatments become more complex, as the population ages, and as the oncology drug market increases, the need for knowledgeable health care practitioners has grown and the role of a clinical pharmacist has expanded to encompass all phases of patient care as part of the cancer care team. View article: The Oncology Care Pharmacist in Health-System Pharmacy

Panel of Experts: End of Life Care

Three leading experts discuss the role of pharmacy in end of life care.

ASHP Statement on the Pharmacist’s Role in Hospice and Palliative Care 

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) believes that pharmacists have a pivotal role in the provision of hospice and palliative care and that pharmacists should be integral members of all hospice interdisciplinary teams.

Medicare Hospices Have Financial Incentives To Provide Care in Assisted Living Facilities

Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, CMS must reform the hospice payment system, collect data relevant to revising hospice payments, and develop quality measures for hospices. This report provides information to inform those decisions and is part of OIG's larger body of work on hospice care.