Q & A

Palliative & Hospice Home Care FAQs

At Medcore Preferred Hospice, we offer convenient and beneficial hospice care for your loved ones. Review our most commonly asked questions to learn more about our care.

Contact us regarding any questions or concerns you may have about hospice services, coverage, or caregiver support.
Frequently Asked Questions

What is hospice?
Hospice is a philosophy of care for people faced with a life-limiting illness. The program gives comfort to patients with ultimate respect paid to the patients’ quality of life. Hospice care is meant to be palliative; patients are treated in a way that is meant to alleviate symptoms, not cure the disease. Hospice care also serves both the patient and his or her family, offering comprehensive care for everyone’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical needs.
Who qualifies for hospice care?
Patients qualify for hospice care when physicians have given a prognosis of approximately six months or less, if their disease follows its normal progression.
Who refers for hospice?
Hospice referrals can be made by anyone who knows the patient. You can give our hospice a call at (281) 394-2042. We will take your referral and follow up with you.
What if the patient lives longer than six months?
Hospice care can continue for more than six months as long as the patient continues to meet the guidelines and his or her physician certifies the appropriateness of continuing hospice care.
How is hospice paid for?
Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans will pay for hospice.
Where is hospice care provided?
Hospice care can occur wherever the patient happens to be, including the hospital, an extended or residential care facility, or the patient’s home. Private insurance plans will offer specific guidelines for coverage.
What happens in the first 48 hours of hospice service?
Within 24 hours of referral, a nurse or social worker will visit the patient. Once everything has been explained, the patient will choose to sign an informed consent and hospice election. Then the nurse or social worker will go over the insurance and financial information. The nurse will do a complete physical examination on the patient, to allow him or her to collaborate with the patient’s physician and develop a hospice plan of care with the patient and family. The nurse will also give suggestions to the patient and family regarding comfort measures and daily care. Next, the nurse, social worker, patient, and family will develop a schedule for daily visits. If any other services are needed, the nurse will contact the appropriate parties.
How do we get the medicine?
The physician prescribes the medication and gets an order for it to the hospice nurse, who then orders the medication from an appropriate pharmacy or hospital formulary. At most, a 14-day supply will be ordered at one time. Hospice will need to approve any new medications. During home visits, the nurse will review the medication supply to ensure the patient has what he or she needs.
Does hospice pay for a senior living home?
If an extended care facility accepts Medicaid, hospice will take care of the billing for room and board for patients who have Medicaid.
How often will a nurse visit and how long does the visit last?
Visit length and frequency is determined by the needs of the patient and family. Generally, patients start by seeing a nurse 2-3 times per week. 
What if we don't want all of the disciplines to visit?
A nurse, chaplain, and medical social worker are considered to be the essential services to make sure that the patient’s plan of care works for his or her needs. However, the patient and family can decide if there are services they feel they do or don’t need.
May the patient have physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy?
Any therapy is appropriate to the extent that it enhances patient safety and quality of life.
Does hospice have people who stay with the patient overnight?
Generally, no, as hospice is a visiting service. If you need hourly care, our social worker can provide resources for you.
Can we call 911?
If there are urgent needs, please call hospice first. We can handle facilitating the care to ensure you get the care you need.
What if the patient needs to go back to the hospital?
Hospice will do everything possible to try to keep the patient from having to be admitted to the hospital. However, if the patient must be admitted, we can arrange for him or her to be directly taken to the best place for symptom management instead of having to stay in the ER.
What if the patient gets an infection?
We can treat infections with oral antibiotics if desired.
Will the patient keep his or her primary doctor?
We encourage patients to keep their primary physicians. Our nurse will communicate with the doctor regularly, keeping the doctor updated on the patient’s condition and requesting changes to the plan of care. Patients may also choose to have the hospice medical director take over as his/her primary physician, especially if the patient does not have a primary care doctor.
What if we decided we don't want hospice anymore?
Patients and families are free to discontinue hospice care at any time; we only ask that you sign a revocation form if you do so.
Medcore Preferred Hospice obtains reimbursements by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance.
Medicare and Medicaid Hospice Benefits
Eligibility: Any individual entitled to Medicare Part A and/or Medicaid benefits and certified by his/her attending physician as being terminally ill (life expectancy of six months or less, if the disease follows its normal course) is entitled to use these benefits. Election to the hospice benefit: The hospice benefit is elected by you and your family, and an “election” statement is signed and dated. The decision affects your regular Medicare / Medicaid only in regard to your terminal illness. Hospice is designed to be the single source of all healthcare related to your terminal illness; other care will be billed to your insurance plan. Your condition will be evaluated on an ongoing basis by the hospice team. If the patient's condition has stabilized and the patient is appropriate for discharge, the team will develop a discharge plan with the patient and family.
Coverage of Medical Supplies, Equipment, and Prescriptions under the Medicare Hospice Benefit
Your Medicare Hospice Benefit will cover medical supplies, equipment, and medications related to your terminal illness and approved as part of your plan of care. Any other unrelated medical supplies, equipment, or medications will be the financial responsibility of you or your family.
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