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CMS Renames HEART, Convenes Listening Sessions

In a special Open Door Forum yesterday, officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)and contracted researchers shared their latest plans related to developing a standardized assessment tool to be deployed for hospice patients. The tool, previously called the HEART tool (Hospice Evaluation and Assessment Reporting Tool) is being temporarily renamed as the “hospice assessment tool” since CMS has realized that the name caused confusion with the HART tool, which is a software system for reporting quality measures for those hospices which do not use an electronic medical record to automatically generate quality measures reports.

CMS also shared the following about the tool:

  • Tool components may have an admission assessment, an interim assessment, a checklist for those approaching death, and a discharge assessment;
  • They will be conducting three (3) listening sessions as the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization’s upcoming Management and Leadership Conference, aimed at gathering industry input on the design and development of the tool.
  • They will also be conducting a series of focus groups which will include previous technical expert panel members, providers, consumers, electronic medical records vendors, and family caregivers to offer input on the assessment tool elements and design.
  • Particularly, they are looking for those essential elements for short-stay patients, that would be most critical to include in an assessment.

In terms of timeline, CMS shared that this year is dedicated to gathering information, with limited piloting to begin in 2020. Depending on the outcome of that pilot, a more extensive pilot and/or implementation will be determined.

CMS has scheduled another listening session in June 12 from 2-3pm. Questions and input may be directed to

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