Healthcare is constantly evolving to ensure patients with life-limiting illnesses have access to new treatments and care delivery models to best meet their needs. While this often improves patient quality of life, it can be confusing for billers.
One such area is palliative care which is often confused with hospice care. While there are some elements of palliative care in hospice, these are two distinctly different services in one important aspect: while hospice care focuses on providing comfort care to terminally ill patients with less than six months to live, palliative care provides physical and emotional support to patients with serious life-limiting illnesses at any stage of their diagnosis.
Unlike hospice care, which generally replaces other treatments as the patient elects to pursue comfort care over curative care, palliative care is designed to be a partner and facilitator of whatever care a patient needs. This includes curative treatments, skilled nursing care, and home health care. As long as these providers have a separate National Provider Identifier (NPI) number from the palliative care provider, there is no conflict in billing.
Communication in Care
At Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care, the palliative care coordinator acts almost like a concierge, connecting patients to specialists to treat their symptoms and other quality of life concerns.
For example, a cancer patient may be receiving chemotherapy or radiation from an oncologist while working with a palliative care nurse practitioner to address their pain and a nutritionist to insure they are receiving adequate nutrition despite nausea or trouble swallowing.
Crossroads’ palliative care coordinator will work with the patient and other providers to coordinate these visits and ensure that the primary physician is kept in the loop. This communication gives the physician another set of eyes in the home to address concerns they may not be aware of when seeing the patient in an office or hospital setting.
To learn more about how palliative care services work with other treatments a patient is receiving, please call us at 1-888-564-3405.
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