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Seasons Hospice Meets with Hospice Champion Senator Isakson



GEORGIA (May 5, 2016) – Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care is honored to have met with hospice champion Senator Johnny Isakson to discuss how the proposed Medicare Advantage (MA) carve-in is going to negatively affect hospice care in Georgia. The Senate Chronic Care Working Group has proposed that Medicare Advantage plans assume both the clinical management and financial responsibility of the hospice benefit, essentially “carving-in” hospice under Medicare Advantage. This is a departure from the current system, where once a patient enrolls in hospice care, the financial responsibility for patient care shifts to traditional fee-for-service Medicare (thus hospice is currently ‘carved out’ of Medicare Advantage).

There are many implications for hospice patients and families in Georgia if the Medicare Advantage Carve-in proceeds. In choosing a hospice provider, patients often take into consideration their faith, their unique personal and family needs, the referral to a hospice provider from a friend or family member, the reputation and familiarity of hospice programs in their community, and other factors. Hospice choice isn’t simply a medical decision. If hospice is carved-in to Medicare Advantage, however, beneficiary  access could be severely limited. Additionally MA could assign additional co-pays, deductibles, or prior authorizations for both in-network and out of network hospice utilization. For individuals and families in the Georgia community, these restrictions and financial requirements create an additional burden during an already stressful time.

“On behalf of the entire Georgia hospice community, we are grateful to have had a chance to meet with Senator Isakson to discuss these important hospice issues that will affect Medicare beneficiaries that need hospice,” said Rita Isnetto, Executive Director. “Meeting with Senator Isakson, who is a longtime proponent of advanced care planning and end-of-life issues, was crucial in raising awareness about the negative implications of the Medicare Advantage carve-in.”

Isnetto was accompanied by Tony Kudner, Vice President of Communications, and Anna Evans, Music Therapist, and met with the Senator on Thursday, May 5 and discussed how the MA carve in could negatively affect the community. Music Therapy is just one of the many programs that could be cut from the Medicare Advantage carve-in.

Seasons has been honored to serve the patients and families of the greater Atlanta area since 2011 in an area that includes the counties of Clayton, Cobb, Dawson, Dekalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Cherokee and Barrow.