July 15, 2019
Government Accountability Office meets with NHPCO Regulatory Committee as part of study on disposal of controlled substances by hospice programs in home settings. When H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (the SUPPORT Act) passed, it mandated that the Government Accountability Office study and report on the disposal of controlled substances in home hospice programs. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is pleased to aid the GAO on this important work. The GAO is required to provide Congress with: An overview of any challenges encountered by selected hospice programs regarding the disposal of controlled substances, such as opioids, in the home setting; and, A description of Federal requirements, including requirements under the Medicare program, for hospice programs regarding the disposal of controlled substances in a home setting and oversight of compliance with those requirements. NHPCO’s Regulatory Committee and several state hospice association leaders met with the GAO team on July 10, 2019, to discuss the disposal of controlled substances in the home, share policies and procedures for the process, and to provide insights about challenges and opportunities. “We value the opportunity to offer our expertise and that of our members. This is an excellent example of collaboration between governmental agencies, NHPCO and the broader community,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach. As part of the ongoing work, NHPCO invites its members to offer their insights to the GAO as well. If interested, please submit your name and contact information to email@example.com with “GAO study” in the subject line. NHPCO will compile the list of potential interviewees and submit them to the GAO. Additionally, NHPCO is coordinating a discussion with state leaders on this issue. “Hospice programs take very seriously the oversight of medications for those under our care. Understanding the role that we can play in the disposal of controlled substances in the home is an important part of our nation’s work to stem illegal diversion of medications,” Banach added.