The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) expressed the collective concern of the hospice community about the negative impacts on patients of the Continuing Resolution (CR) under consideration in Congress to extend the government’s current budget through February 18.
The CR does not address two automatic cuts to Medicare hospice payments—Medicare sequester cuts and PAYGO sequester cuts—both of which were written into law years ago and do not take into account today’s economic realities, the global pandemic, or the ongoing national shortage of healthcare workers.
The two cuts combined would mean a six percent reduction of Medicare payments to America’s hospices starting in January, while they continue to provide the same level of end-of-life and bereavement care for patients and their families.
NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach said, “Last year, a bipartisan majority recognized that cutting payments would be cruel to patients and would hurt the viability of hospices at the worst possible time—and they put a moratorium on the cuts. Since then, none of these fundamentals have changed: we’re still in the middle of the COVID-19 public health emergency, there is still a national shortage of healthcare workers, and hospice care remains essential. So, while we’re disappointed that the Continuing Resolution currently under consideration does nothing to address these looming cuts, we are confident that Congress still recognizes the unique value of hospice care, and we will work to ensure these cuts are addressed in other legislation over the coming months.”
As the leading voice of the hospice community in Washington, NHPCO has worked tirelessly to ensure Congress understands how policy impacts hospices and their patients. NHPCO’s advocacy on the Medicare sequester and PAYGO cuts most recently included a joint letter to Congressional leaders with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and LeadingAge.