Hospice General Inpatient Care (GIP)
By Victor Montour
Everyday someone will ask us about the GIP level of care available to patients while receiving hospice care or at the time of enrolling in to hospice services. It has become clear that most healthcare professionals do not understand the GIP level of care or the criteria that must be met before a patient can receive this level of care. Front Range Hospice follows the requirements set before use by the Medicare Benefit Policies without exception. Following the policies set by Medicare as they are written places Front Range Hospice in the best position to deliver legendary care to our patients when they need it most. Below is a copy of the Medicare Benefit Policy for the GIP level of care.
Medicare Benefit Policy Manual
Chapter 9 – Coverage of Hospice Services Under Hospital Insurance
40.1.5 – Short-Term Inpatient Care
(Rev. 188, Issued: 05-01-14; Effective: 08-04-14; Implementation: 08-04-14) Short-term inpatient care may be provided in a participating hospital, hospice inpatient unit, or a participating SNF or NF that additionally meets the special hospice standards regarding patient and staffing areas. Medicare payment cannot be made for inpatient hospice care provided in a VA facility to Medicare beneficiaries eligible to receive Veteran’s health services. Services provided in an inpatient setting must conform to the written plan of care. However, dually eligible veterans residing at home in their community may elect the Medicare hospice benefit. See §60.
Medicare covers two levels of inpatient care: respite care for relief of the patient’s caregivers, and general inpatient care which is for pain control and symptom management. General inpatient care (GIP) may only be provided in a Medicare participating hospital, SNF, or hospice inpatient facility. Respite care may only be provided in a Medicare participating hospital or hospice inpatient facility, or a Medicare or Medicaid participating nursing facility.
General inpatient care is allowed when the patient’s medical condition warrants a short-term inpatient stay for pain control or acute or chronic symptom management that cannot feasibly be provided in other settings.
General inpatient care under the hospice benefit is not equivalent to a hospital level of care under the Medicare hospital benefit. For example, a brief period of general inpatient care may be needed in some cases when a patient elects the hospice benefit at the end of a covered hospital stay. If a patient in this circumstance continues to need pain control or symptom management, which cannot be feasibly provided in other settings while the patient prepares to receive hospice home care, general inpatient care is appropriate.
Other examples of appropriate general inpatient care include a patient in need of medication adjustment, observation, or other stabilizing treatment. It is not appropriate to bill Medicare for general inpatient care days for situations where the individual’s caregiver support has broken down unless the coverage requirements for the general inpatient level of care are otherwise met. For a hospice to provide and bill for the general inpatient level of care, the patient must require an intensity of care directed towards pain control and symptom management that cannot be managed in any other setting.
Respite care is short-term inpatient care provided to the individual only when necessary to relieve the family members or other persons who normally care for the individual at home. Respite care may be provided only on an occasional basis and may not be reimbursed for more than 5 consecutive days at a time. Payment for the sixth and any subsequent day of respite care is made at the routine home care rate, and the patient would be liable for room and board. Respite care cannot be provided to hospice patients who reside in a facility (such as a long term care nursing facility). Provision of respite care depends upon the needs of the patient and of the patient’s caregiver, within the limitations given.
Several examples of appropriate respite care for a patient who does not reside in a facility include providing a few days for the caregiver to rest at home, to visit family, attend a wedding, or attend a graduation for a needed break, or providing a few days immediately following a GIP stay if the usual caregiver has fallen ill. See also, section 40.2.2.
Note that hospice inpatient care in an SNF or NF serves to prolong current benefit periods for general Medicare hospital and SNF benefits. This could potentially affect patients who revoke the hospice benefit.
If a hospice patient receives general inpatient care for 3 days or more in a hospital, and chooses to revoke hospice, then the 3 day stay (although not equivalent to a hospital level of care) would still qualify the beneficiary for covered SNF services.
To view the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual in its entirety visit http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Guidance/Manuals/downloads/bp102c09.pdf