PENSACOLA, Florida, June 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- During recent days, the reputation of Covenant Hospice has come under scrutiny after news of billing errors were released. These errors, which upon discovery were immediately self-reported by Covenant Hospice to the Department of Justice, have not and will not affect the care provided to patients and families at the end of life. Covenant Hospice remains steadfast to its promise to provide the highest standard of care to its patients and is committed to doing what is right.
Video - https://youtu.be/nu-4pgJwvTE
Hospice services are provided at four levels of care: routine home care, continuous home care, inpatient respite care and general inpatient care – each reimbursed at different rates by federal healthcare programs such as Medicare, Tricare and Medicaid. When billing, hospices are required by these agencies to provide very specific documentation to support the level of care.
During a review of its records in August 2010, unintentional billing and documentation errors were found to have occurred during 2009 and 2010. Hospice patients received the level of care needed, but documentation was insufficient to support the billing rates. Covenant Hospice immediately contacted the Department of Justice to correct these errors.
"We initiated extensive staff training on proper medical record documentation to ensure compliance while continuing to provide the highest quality of care for our patients and families," said Liz Kuehn, vice president of organizational excellence and corporate compliance.
On June 19, 2015, Covenant Hospice repaid $10.1 million on the common law theory of payment by mistake, and no penalty was assessed by the Department of Justice.
"Excellent patient and family care is the cornerstone of our promise," said Jeff Mislevy, president and CEO since 2014. "More than ever, we are focused on doing what is right for those we serve, and we will continue to fulfill our promise to provide the highest standard of care and compliance."
Surveys and benchmarks are important methods for continually monitoring the quality of hospice care. Compared to other members of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Covenant maintains above average and excellent ratings in patient and family needs. First quarter 2015 Covenant Hospice Patient and Family Survey results include:
- 98.6% - Patient pain control wishes were met.
- 100% - Hospice aides exceeded patient expectations.
- 98.7% - Patients died with someone present.
- 98.4% - Symptom control expectations were fulfilled.
- 99.9% - Patients were overall satisfied.
- 98.8% - Patients died in their place of choice.
As one of the largest and most comprehensive not-for-profit hospices in the nation, Covenant Hospice serves more than 800 patients daily throughout Northwest Florida and South Alabama. In addition to traditional medical and palliative care, special programs such as spiritual care, children's support, volunteer services and bereavement care extend to the entire family.
SOURCE Covenant Hospice