When a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, an extremely challenging road often lies ahead. Along with coping with grief and making appropriate arrangements, many difficult decisions need to be made.
Navigating the healthcare landscape and determining what services are and are not covered for a person on hospice care can certainly feel overwhelming.
All individuals with Medicare Part A coverage are entitled to receive hospice care at no cost once they select a provider. This includes transportation services related to the hospice diagnosis.
According to the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual, “Ambulance transports of a hospice patient, which are related to the terminal illness and which occur after the effective date of election, are the responsibility of the hospice.”
While transportation benefits normally fall under Medicare Part B, when a patient is put on hospice, Part A takes precedent. Importantly, along with ambulance services, this coverage also provides for wheelchair van transportation, while Part B does not.
For a patient on hospice at home or in a facility, comfort and minimization of pain are the primary concerns. The goal is to give the patient the highest possible quality of life during the time they have left. The hospice care team, which includes the physician, the patient’s family, and the supporting medical staff, will collaboratively make decisions on the best course of palliative care.
In some cases, the patient’s family may choose to give the at-home caregiver a reprieve, and the patient will be temporarily transferred to a hospital. Alternatively, sometimes, a hospice patient in a facility may choose to be transported home to receive the remainder of their care comfortably and surrounded by family and friends. In both of these instances, Medicare will cover the cost of transportation for each leg of the trip.
When the care team selects a transportation provider, they should keep in mind that the hospice population requires a higher level of sensitivity and specialized care during transit. Choosing an appropriate transportation solution is a integral piece in the process of providing optimal end-of-life care.
On Time Ambulance is the preferred transportation provider for many hospitals and hospice care facilities throughout the state of New Jersey. We offer complimentary educational training sessions at any hospice agency's office and can answer any questions any hospice caretaker or family member may have at 908-298-9500. Learn more about our different forms of medical transportation offered to hospice patients.