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End of Life Issues

End of Life Supportive Care for ESRD Patients

In recent years greater attention has been placed on the need for professionals and patients to become educated about issues that come to bear as patients near the end of their lives. Recently a national coalition coordinated by the Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition and supported by CMS was formed to help clarify these issues. A website devoted to this topic can be accessed by clicking on this link. (Link opens in new browser.)

Hospice Benefits

The link below provides CMS policy information clarfying the circumstances under which ESRD patients qualify to have their treatments reimbursed while simultaneously receiving hospice services.

In summary, the policy clarifies that if ESRD is not the terminal condition for which hospice care is elected and if ESRD is not related to that terminal condition, then an individual may receive services under both ESRD and hospice benefits. For example, if a dialysis unit has a patient with lung cancer who desires hospice care but wants to continue with dialysis (the renal failure and lung cancer not being related), both services can be billed to Medicare.

For information on hospice benefits visit National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Medicare Hospice Benefits.