As a healthcare partner, we value your referrals.
For fastest service call 518-891-0606 and ask for one of our Referral Specialists.
To assist us in determining hospice eligibility, please fax referred patient’s medical information, including demographic facesheet, H&P, Discharge Summaries, ER/ED visits, surgical procedures, consult notes, radiological and laboratory results, primary hospice terminal diagnosis, MOLST/Advance Directives (if available) to 866-200-5117.
Our goal is to promote optimum comfort and quality of life for terminally ill patients and provide support for their family members.
Our team will work with you as well as the patient to determine what their goals are during the admission process and will continue to consult with you regarding how best to meet the needs of your patient.
You are encouraged to contact us with any concerns or questions you may have regarding your patient. We welcome your participation as we all walk together through this difficult journey.
Here are some resources to help you talk to your patients about High Peaks Hospice:
High Peaks Hospice Informational Brochure
Considering Hospice Care: A Discussion Guide for Families
The High Peaks Hospice Circle of Care
Hospice Services and Benefits
When They Won’t Eat – Article for caregivers
Bereavement and Grief Support
Hospice Care in a Skilled Nursing Facility
FAST Scale for Dementia
The Medicare Hospice Benefit
Though it is often difficult, it is important to talk to patients about end of life wishes.
One of the most difficult conversations that a healthcare provider has with a patient is regarding end-of-life issues. Hospice staff can assist with this. Having frank, gentle discussions with patients and their families about their prognosis and following up with the variety of options available to them (and the realistic results rather than unrealistic expectations) has usually proven to be cathartic for both clinician and patient. Giving them choices and an honest prognosis leads to acceptance and helps to alleviate their fears.
New York state enacted the New York State Palliative Care Information Act in 2010. This requires health care practitioners caring for a patient with a terminal illness to offer patients or their representatives information about prognosis and options for end-of-life care, including aggressive pain management and hospice care as well as the possibilities for further life-sustaining treatments. This obligation may be fulfilled by the primary care physician or may be transferred to another appropriate health care practitioner such as High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care. This is your choice.
Hospice staff are happy to provide support to you by being present and participating in this discussion as you speak with terminally ill patients. If you would rather, we could provide guidance as to how you can best have these discussions. Our goal is to assist patients to reach the decision regarding end-of-life care that best fits matches their needs, wishes and choices.
Here is a helpful article written for physicians and healthcare providers: Facilitating Hospice Discussions – Six Steps
Your Role in Hospice Care
The patient’s primary care physician knows their patient the best. They have, in most cases, treated the patient for many years and through many separate healthcare issues. You are the one individual most trusted by the patients and this relationship will not change once your patient comes on hospice.
Many individuals facing the end of life are hesitant regarding admission to hospice care because they fear that they will no longer have a relationship with their personal physician. This is not the case. Hospice staff recognizes that for the patient to receive the best possible care the hospice team and personal physician must work together.
Hospice staff work in close consultation with the patient’s physician to determine the course of care that is best and continue this as the disease progresses to assure that whatever care is provided is best for the individual.
Personal physicians are encouraged to contact the hospice team with any concerns or questions so that we may continue to work together for the best interest of those we serve.
Billing for Hospice Services
Hospice is considered skilled health services and is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health insurance plans. Provided all eligibility requirements are met, Medicare and Medicaid will pay for all home visits, medications, supplies, and equipment related to end of life care. Some private insurance plans require a co-pay or deductible. Contact your insurance company to determine if hospice services are covered under your plan.
If insurance coverage is not available, hospice care can be provided to patients for a set daily fee, regardless of the amount of visits, medications, or equipment required in the home environment. Individuals and families who cannot afford the cost of services can complete an application for financial assistance. Inability to pay or lack of insurance is never a barrier to receiving care.
Hospice patients continue to receive care from their regular physician. Their physician is able to bill most insurance for any services that are rendered.
Attending physicians should contact their billing staff with any questions or concerns regarding reimbursement for services.
Palliative Care & Pain Management
Hospice medical directors and registered nurses are experts in pain management. Through many years of clinical work in the hospice field they have learned that what may be appropriate and effective for one patient’s pain may not be the correct course of action for others.
Pain management and palliative care focuses on relief of pain and symptom management. Decisions on pain management are made by hospice medical staff and the patient’s own physician after discussion with family and patients regarding their desires and wishes (do I want to be alert? What are the side effects of certain medications?) and in consultation with you, their primary care physician.
Patients and families work together with the palliative care and pain management teams to improve the patient’s quality of life. Our specialized teams monitor each patient’s response to find the right therapy to improve their comfort level while minimizing side effects. Together we decide what is the course of action which best suits their needs.