The Final FY2010 Wage Index Rule was posted on the Federal Register public inspection desk. NHPCO (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization) is thrilled to announce that the reimbursement cuts associated with the elimination of the Budget Neutrality Adjustment Factor have now been spread out over 7 years, instead of being harshly phased in over just 2 years.
For nearly 18 months, the hospice community has been fighting a regulation originally proposed in the FY2009 Wage Index issued by the previous Administration, which would reduce hospice reimbursement by eliminating the budget neutrality adjustment factor (BNAF). In the FY2010 Wage Index released today, the current Administration considered, through their review of the submitted comments, the severity of the economic conditions facing the hospice community and the ever-increasing desire by patients and families to have access to high-quality end-of-life care.
The seven-year phase out of the BNAF affords the hospice community a more rational approach to absorbing the eventual rate reductions over a much longer period of time. While the end result is the same, a substantial and unwarranted rate reduction, this approach recognizes the ongoing financial pressures facing the hospice community and prioritizes compassionate and high-quality care for our nation’s most vulnerable population, the dying and their families.