National Hospice Locator Now Sorting Providers By Quality

Monday, May 15, 2023

Lumina Hospice and Palliative Care provides compassionate and skilled end-of-life care that is vital for those facing terminal illnesses and their families. That’s why we are excited to share that the National Hospice Locator, a website that helps patients and families find hospice care providers in their area, is now sorting providers by quality.

This change is based on surveys of patients and their families following their hospice experiences, and the same surveys have been used in recent studies showing that non-profit hospices provide better care than for-profit hospices. The surveys are conducted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The National Hospice Locator provides transparent information to those seeking hospice care, and now patients and families can see the quality scores of providers along with other important information such as services provided, payment options, and contact information. By choosing a hospice provider with high quality scores, patients and families can have even greater confidence that they will receive compassionate, effective end-of-life care.

Hospice quality is important, yet difficult to define, measure, or report. Hospice Analytics, with input from hospice leaders across the country, developed a hospice quality ranking tool. This is not unique – although ranking all hospices in the country and making that information freely available to the public has never been done before.

Currently nine (9) weighted metrics are used to calculate a hospice quality ranking score. Metrics are pulled from various Medicare files, detailed below. These metrics will be recalculated as new information becomes available. Ongoing discussion with hospice leaders allows for metrics to be added or removed, as well as weighted values to be changed, in the future. In the 3rd update, hospice quality scores range from 50-99 out of a possible 100 points; mean and median scores ~70; and the 80th percentile score ~82 (i.e., if a hospice quality score >= 82, this is higher than 80% of the hospices in the country). Hospices with quality scores <60 are generally missing the information used to calculate a score. The nine (9) current metrics include:

1. Star Rating, per Care Compare for Hospice (CAHPS)

2. Hospice Visits in the Last Days of Life, per Care Compare for Hospice (HIS)

3. Hospice Care Index, per Care Compare for Hospice (HIS)

4. Levels of care provided, per Hospice Claims (specifically examining General Inpatient and Continuous Home Care levels of care)

5. Percentage of caregivers reporting “Yes, they would definitely recommend this hospice”, per Care Compare for Hospice (CAHPS)

6. Staffing Ratios, per Hospice Claims and Provider of Service file

7. Stability: 6+ years since Medicare certification or last change of ownership, per Provider of Service file

8. Accreditation, per Provider of Service file

9. Health Equity: Any days billed to Medicaid, per Cost Reports

At Lumina Hospice and Palliative Care, we are proud to be a non-profit hospice provider and to have received high quality scores in CMS surveys. We know that our commitment to patient-centered care, interdisciplinary teams, and community partnerships make a difference in the lives of our patients and their loved ones.

We hope that the National Hospice Locator’s decision to sort providers by quality will continue to promote transparency and accountability in the hospice care industry, and help more patients and families find the compassionate, high-quality care they deserve.

If you or a loved one are in need of hospice care, please reach out to Lumina to receive the best end-of-life care possible in our region. We look forward to serving you and your family.