Senator Warner Questions HHS-Secretary Nominee on Hospice Part D Issue

There continues to be rising Congressional interest in CMS' released guidance around payments for drugs under Part D and hospice. In March, CMS issued Final 2014 Guidance, "Part D Payments for Drugs for Beneficiaries Enrolled in Hospice" in an effort to clarify prior authorization requirements for hospices and Part D plans to prevent duplicate payments for drugs covered under the hospice benefit. Since the final guidance was issued, the hospice community has expressed confusion and concern about ensuring appropriate payment for drugs and the new processes for prior authorization.

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) raised his concerns about this guidance with Health and Human Services Secretary nominee, Sylvia Burwell, during her second confirmation hearing in Senate Finance nomination hearing last week. Senator Warner commented "[a]s this is being rolled out it's confusing and placing a lot of unnecessary burdens on hospice patients, families and the hospice provider community." Burwell said she looked forward to working with Warner to find a way to implement the guidance to make sure Medicare is paying correctly for appropriate treatments.


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