Yesterday, December 16, 2013, Congressmen Tom Reed and Mike Thompson sent a letter to Marilyn Tavenner, the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The letter urged CMS to slow down on their recent initiatives regarding Part D and hospice (read this letter online).
This is a direct result of the Hospice Advocacy from the provider community. The letter contained signatures from 42 Members of Congress from the House of Representatives. Of those 42, two were physicians, and most notably 14 were on the House Ways & Means Committee.
Why does this matter? The Ways & Means Committee has jurisdiction over Medicare issues, including hospice. Ways & Means members can be reluctant to sign on to letters of this nature, but grassroots relationships coupled with the seriousness of the issues surrounding hospice and Part D were enough to overcome that.
What happens next? The hospice community has now very publicly weighed in on this issue, and (with the help of Hospice Advocates across the US) so has Congress. CMS is currently accepting comments on their draft memorandum through January 6, 2014. NHPCO is collecting case studies of how this guidance would affect hospices. Hospice providers that are NHPCO members are encouraged to submit comments to NHPCO by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHPCO and its affiliate organization, the Hospice Action Network, is monitoring several year-end issues here in DC including the ‘SGR’ packages, the budget agreement, and this Part D issue, among others.
Learn more about issues involving Medicare Part D and hospice on the Hospice Action Network website.