According to a report by State House News Service, a bill was recently filed by a group of legislators that would expand hospice coverage to about 120,000 more residents on MassHealth.
Senate Bill 1999, An Act extending hospice care to the MassHealth basic and MassHealth essential programs was filed by Senator Patricia Jehlen and seeks what its title states. Hospice coverage, according to State House News, is available to about 1 million MassHealth recipients, but not to roughly 120,000 who are on more restrictive plans known as MassHealth Basic and MassHealth Essential.
The inspiration for this bill comes from a report assembled by the Massachusetts Commission on End-Of-Life Care, which was established by the legislature in 2009 to study issues surrounding end-of-life care and how such care is provided in the state.
The Home Care Alliance applauds the initiative to expand hospice coverage so that people can fulfill their preference to receive end-of-life care in their homes. While approximately 67 percent of Massachusetts residents say they would prefer to die at home, only 24 percent actually do, according to statistics compiled by the commission, the Massachusetts chapter of AARP, and the state Department of Public Health.
The legislation has been referred to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing and the Alliance will continue to provide updates on this proposal as it becomes available.
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