Levels of Care Data Required on the Institutional Claim to Medicare Contractor

August 3rd, 2015

With the exception of payment for physician services, Medicare payment for hospice care is made at one of four predetermined rates for each day that a Medicare beneficiary is under the care of the hospice. The four rates are prospective rates; there are no retroactive adjustments other than the application of the statutory "caps" on overall payments and on payments for inpatient care.  The rate paid for any particular day varies depending on the level of care furnished to the beneficiary.  
The four levels of care into which each day of care is classified:
Routine Home Care                    Revenue code 0651
Continuous Home Care               Revenue code 0652
Inpatient Respite Care                Revenue code 0655
General Inpatient Care               Revenue code 0656
For each day that a Medicare beneficiary is under the care of a hospice, the hospice is reimbursed an amount applicable to the type and intensity of the services furnished to the beneficiary for that day. For continuous home care the amount of payment is determined based on the number of hours, reported in increments of 15 minutes, of continuous care furnished to the beneficiary on that day. For the other categories a single rate is applicable for the category for each day.
For the day of discharge from an inpatient unit, the appropriate home care rate is to be paid unless the patient dies as an inpatient. When the patient is discharged deceased, the inpatient rate (general or respite) is to be paid for the discharge date.
A description of each level of care follows.
Routine Home Care-The hospice is paid the routine home care rate for each day the patient is under the care of the hospice and not receiving one of the other categories of hospice care. This rate is paid without regard to the volume or intensity of routine home care services provided on any given day, and is also paid when the patient is receiving outpatient hospital care for a condition unrelated to the terminal condition.
Continuous Home Care- The hospice is paid the continuous home care rate when continuous home care is provided in the patient’s home. Continuous home care is not paid during a hospital, skilled nursing facility or inpatient hospice facility stay. This rate is paid only during a period of crisis and only as necessary to maintain the terminally ill individual at home. The continuous home care rate is divided by 24 hours in order to arrive at an hourly rate. A minimum of 8 hours must be provided. Nursing care must be provided for more than half of the period of care and must be provided by either a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. Parts of an hour are identified through the
reporting of time for continuous home care days in 15 minute increments and these increments are used in calculating the payment rate. Only patient care provided during the period of crisis is to be reported. Payment is based upon the number of 15-minute increments that are billed for 32 or more units. Rounding to the next whole hour is no longer applicable. Units should only be rounded to the nearest increment. Billing for CHC should not reflect nursing shifts and non-direct patient increments (e.g., meal beaks,report, education of staff).  Continuous home care is not intended to be used as respite care.
The hospice provides a minimum of 8 hours of care during a 24-hour day, which begins and ends at midnight. This care need not be continuous, i.e., 4 hours could be provided in the morning and another 4 hours in the evening, but care must reflect the needs of an individual in crisis. The care must be predominantly nursing care provided by either a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). In other words, at least half of the hours of care are provided by the RN or LPN. Homemaker or home health aide (also known as a hospice aide) services may be provided to supplement the nursing care.
Care by a home health aide and/or homemaker may not be discounted or provided “at no charge” in order to qualify for continuous home care. The care provided by all members of the interdisciplinary and/or home health team must be documented in the medical record regardless if that care does or does not compute into continuous home care.
Inpatient Respite Care- The hospice is paid at the inpatient respite care rate for each day on which the beneficiary is in an approved inpatient facility and is receiving respite care. Payment for respite care may be made for a maxi mum of 5 continuous days at a time including the date of admission but not counting the date of discharge. Payment for the sixth and any subsequent days is to be made at the routine home care rate. More than one respite period (of no more than 5 days each) is allowable in a single billing period. If the beneficiary dies under inpatient respite care, the day of death is paid at the inpatient respite care rate. Payment at the respite rate is made when respite care is provided at a Medicare or Medicaid certified hospital, SNF, hospice facility, or NF.
General Inpatient Care- Payment at the inpatient rate is made when general inpatient care is provided at a Medicare certified hospice facility, hospital, or skilled nursing facility.


Levels of Care Data Required on the Institutional Claim to Medicare Contractor. (2015, August 3). Find-A-Code Articles. Retrieved from https://www.findacode.com/articles/levels-of-care-data-required-on-the-institutional-claim-to-medicare-contractor-26654.html

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