Professional Services during a Hospice Election

When a patient chooses to elect Medicare hospice coverage, they waive all rights to Medicare Part B payments for services related to the treatment and management of the terminal illness during any period in which the hospice election is in force.

Medicare can allow some services by the attending physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. This instruction provides an overview of Medicare payment when a patient elects their hospice benefit. This data also instructs physicians and non-physician practitioners (NPPs) on providing services under arrangement/contract with the hospice agency.

Hospice Election

The patient can elect to use their hospice benefit when a physician certifies they have a terminal illness. The patient would have a life expectancy of six months or less if the illness runs its normal course. The hospice agency must submit a Notice of Election (NOE) to Medicare. This NOE updates the Medicare processing files.

Medicare Payment during Hospice Election

Once the patient elects the hospice benefit, Medicare can allow:

  • Services provided by a Medicare certified hospice agency
  • Services related to the terminal condition made under arrangement/contract with the hospice:
    • Related services are part of the hospice claim to Medicare
    • Medicare professional would make arrangements with the hospice
      • Medicare will deny related services
      • The denied services could be patient liability
  • Services provided by the patient-designated attending physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, (if one has been designated) and
  • Services unrelated to the terminal condition

Professionals can submit unrelated services to Medicare separately.

Determining the Correct Entity to Bill

Providers must verify the correct entity to bill for their services. Billing Medicare without determining the correct billing method is inappropriate.

You can find more information in the CMS Internet-Only Manuals (IOMs)

  • Publication 100-04, Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 11, Section 40.1.3
  • Publication 100-02, Medicare Benefit Policy Manual, Chapter 9.

Separately Payable Part B Services

Use the following tips to help determine if submission to Part B is correct:

  • Is the patient in a Medicare-certified hospice coverage period? Verify this by using the following:
    • Noridian Medicare Portal (NMP)
    • Contact the patient or representative
    • Contact the hospice
  • Is the patient reporting they are no longer in hospice?
    • The hospice notifies the Home Health and Hospice MAC of the disenrollment
    • Verify the hospice end date is in the NMP Portal
      • If the record does not contain the exit date:
        • Contact the hospice or
        • Contact the patient to request the hospice update the file
    • Once the NMP Portal shows the exit date, bill the claim. Providers must file the claim timely.
  • Service related to the hospice condition. Determine if Medicare pays for the services separately:
    • Bill services related to the terminal illness to the hospice for reimbursement
      • When the hospice arranges for the services
        • The entity will look to the hospice for payment
        • Services not covered and patient liable if related services not under arrangement with the hospice
      • When not employed by the hospice, submit to Medicare services provided by the patient-designated attending physician/nurse practitioner/physician assistant
        • Submit using Modifier GV
    • Bill services unrelated to the terminal illness to Medicare for reimbursement
      • Submit using Modifier GW

Hospice and Medicare Advantage

Once a Medicare Advantage patient elects hospice coverage, Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) (i.e. Original Medicare) becomes the payer. This applies to all services provided to the patient under the normal hospice processing instructions.

A patient may revoke their hospice benefit in the middle of the month. Submit charges to Medicare FFS (under all hospice instructions) until the first day of the following month. All claims after the first of the month go to the elected Medicare Advantage plan.

For more information, visit the CMS IOM Publication 100-04, Chapter 11, Section 30.4.

Attending Physician

A patient may elect hospice coverage. Upon election, the patient waives their right to payment for professional services for management of the terminal illness. The exception is for the professional services of an attending physician chosen by the patient who is not an employee of the hospice. Medicare considers physicians volunteering as Medicare hospice as hospice employees.

The attending physician, chosen by the patient and not a hospice agency employee is the medical professional with the most significant role in the patient's care. Submit services related to the terminal illness with the GV Modifier. Professionals recognized as attending physicians include:

  • Doctor of medicine or osteopathy
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician Assistant

To locate instructions on physician billing for hospice care, use the CMS IOM Publication 100-04, Chapter 11, Section 40.

Services Unrelated to Hospice

Medicare considers separate payment for services not related to the terminal illness. Before billing Medicare, it is the provider's responsibility to determine the relationship of the service to the terminal illness.

Use the following to determine whether the claim's diagnosis relates to the hospice diagnosis:

  • Determine if the patient has elected hospice
  • Determine if the hospice notified Medicare of the hospice election by checking with:
    • The patient
    • A patient's representative
    • The hospice
    • The NMP
  • On the claim, append modifier GW indicating the service's diagnosis does not relate to the hospice diagnosis
  • If submitting charges not related to hospice on a UB-04 (or 837I electronic), append condition code 07.

Contractors may conduct prepayment development or post payment reviews to validate the appropriate use of the modifier.

If you believe Medicare denied a claim in error, you can request a redetermination.

For more information on unrelated hospice services, see the CMS IOM Publication 100-04, Chapter 11, Section 50.

Evaluation and Management Codes for Hospice

Providers not employed by a hospice agency may bill for evaluation and management services during respite care in a facility. The physician determines the type of facility in order to submit the correct procedure code. Providers use place of service (POS) 34 to represent a patient in hospice. The claims processing system recognizes POS 34 with two sets of inpatient CPT codes:

  • Inpatient (99221-99239) - services in a hospice or facility
  • Nursing facility (99304-99318) - freestanding hospice or part of a skilled nursing facility (SNF)

We do not recognize POS 34 with the following:

  • Office or other outpatient (99201 - 99215)
  • Observation (99217 - 99226)
  • Domiciliary care CPT codes 99324-99340

Use POS 21 (inpatient) when:

  • The patient remains in the same hospital bed or unit
  • The patient elect's hospice coverage
  • The hospital did not discharge the patient

Use POS 12 (home) when:

  • Hospice services are in the home (99341 – 99350)

Hospice Modifiers

Consider using the following modifiers when billing Medicare.

  • GV - Attending physician not employed or paid under agreement by the patient's hospice provider
  • GW - Service not related to the hospice patient's terminal condition
  • Q5 - Service furnished by a substitute physician under a reciprocal billing arrangement
  • Q6 - Service furnished by a Fee-For-Time Compensation Arrangements physician

The following tips may help you avoid denials:

  • Append either modifier GV or GW only when a patient enrolls in a Medicare-certified hospice
  • Use modifier GV to bill attending physician services to Medicare Part B when:
    • The attending physician is not a hospice employee
    • Payment to the attending physician is not under agreement by the patient's hospice agency
      • If payment is under arrangement, then the hospice agency includes the attending physician's services in its Medicare Part A bill
      • Medicare considers a physician volunteer with the hospice to be an employee
    • If a substitute or Fee-For-Time Compensation Arrangements physician provides services:
      • The designated attending physician bills the services
      • The designated attending physician appends the modifier GV
      • The designated attending physician appends either the Q5 or the Q6 modifier

For more information on hospice services, please see the CMS IOM Publication 100-02, Chapter 9 and Publication 100-04, Chapter 11.

The A/B Medicare Administrative Contractor Home Health and Hospice Collaboration Team developed this document. This joint effort ensures consistent communication and education throughout the nation on a variety of topics and assists the provider and physician community with information necessary to submit claims appropriately and receive proper payment in a timely manner.

            Last Updated Tue, 05 Jan 2021 14:26:46 +0000