Modifiers GV and GW: Medicare Part B Services Provided to Hospice Patients

Published 06/07/2024

Medicare beneficiaries entitled to hospital insurance (Part A) who have terminal illnesses and a life expectancy of six months or less have the option of electing hospice benefits in lieu of standard Medicare coverage for treatment and management of their terminal condition. Hospice care is available for two 90-day periods and an unlimited number of 60-day periods during the remainder of the hospice patient’s lifetime; however, a beneficiary may voluntarily terminate his or her election period.

When hospice coverage is elected, the beneficiary waives all rights to Medicare Part B payments for services related to the treatment and management of his or her terminal illness during any period his or her hospice benefit election is in force, except for professional services of an attending physician, which may include a nurse practitioner.

The Notice of Election (NOE) is not required or reviewed for payment, and therefore should not be submitted to Palmetto GBA with Part B claims. 

To be covered, hospice services must be reasonable and necessary for the palliation or management of the terminal illness and related conditions:

  • The individual must elect hospice care and a certification that the individual is terminally ill must be completed by the patient’s attending physician (if there is one), and the medical director (or the physician member of the Interdisciplinary Group [IDG])
  • Nurse practitioners serving as the attending physician may not certify or recertify the terminal illness
  • A plan of care must be established before services are provided
  • To be covered, services must be consistent with the plan of care
  • Certification of terminal illness is based on the physician’s or medical director’s clinical judgment regarding the normal course of an individual’s illness
  • It should be noted that predicting life expectancy is not always exact

Attending Physician
Only the direct professional services of an independent attending physician, who may be a nurse practitioner, may be submitted. The costs for services such as lab or X-rays are not to be included on the claim.

  • When the attending physician or nurse practitioner furnishes a terminal illness-related service that includes both a professional and technical component (e.g., X-rays), he or she submits the professional component of such services to the carrier and looks to the hospice for payment for the technical component
  • Likewise, he or she would look to the hospice for payment for terminal illness related services furnished that have no professional component (e.g., clinical lab tests)

Hospice Modifier GV
Appending the GV modifier indicates that the attending physician is not employed or paid under arrangement by the patient’s hospice provider. This modifier should be used by the attending physician when the services are related to the patient’s terminal condition or not paid under arrangement by the patient’s hospice provider. Claims from the attending physician for services provided to hospice-enrolled patients may be submitted to Palmetto GBA with Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) modifier GV. This is true regardless of whether the care is related to the patient’s terminal illness. HCPCS modifier GV signifies that:

  • The service was rendered to a patient enrolled in a hospice
  • The service was provided by a physician or nonphysician practitioner identified as the patient’s attending physician at the time of that patient’s enrollment in the hospice program
  • If the service was provided by a physician employed by the hospice, HCPCS modifier GV may not be submitted
  • If the service was provided by a physician not employed by the hospice and the physician was not identified by the beneficiary as his or her attending physician, HCPCS modifier GV may not be submitted

Hospice Modifier GW
The GW modifier indicates that the service rendered is unrelated to the patient’s terminal condition. All providers must submit this modifier when the service(s) provided are unrelated to the patient’s terminal condition. Claims are submitted for treatment of non-terminal conditions under Medicare Part B. Effective on or after January 5, 2019, any services submitted without the GW modifier under the conditions outlined above will be denied.

HCPCS Code G0337
Hospice Pre-Election Evaluation and Counseling Services (HCPCS code G0337) are only payable when submitted by a hospice to its Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC). If a new patient physician evaluation and management service (CPT® codes 99202–99205) is submitted for the same date of service and same physician as HCPCS code G0337, it will be denied.

Services Unrelated to the Terminal Condition

  • Any covered Medicare services that are not related to the treatment of the terminal condition for which hospice care was elected, and which are furnished during a hospice election period, may be submitted to Palmetto GBA. Submit these services with HCPCS modifier GW: “Service not related to the patient’s terminal condition”
  • All providers must submit this modifier when this condition applies

Care Plan Oversight

Managed Care Enrollees Hospice Election


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