(Press release 08/21/14) – Tom Reed spent Thursday in Ithaca at Hospicare and Palliative Care Services of Tompkins County promoting local hospice care. After a tour of the facility and a chance to meet with employees and hospice providers from the area, Reed announced a new bill he recently introduced to strengthen and improve access to quality hospice care. Reed’s bipartisan HOSPICE Act – Hospice Opportunities for Supporting Patients with Integrity and Care Evaluations – was drafted with input from local hospice caregivers and is supported by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
“Our bill is designed to help hospice and palliative caregivers, like Hospicare in Ithaca, do their jobs more effectively and provide higher quality care,” Tom Reed said. “From my family’s personal experience, I’m a firm believer in the quality care and support hospice gives to patients and their families. That’s why we’re committed to putting the fair accountability and transparency measures in our bill in place – so that families in rural areas like our own have access to the hospice care of their choice.”
Reed’s HOSPICE Act is twofold. First, the bill brings additional transparency and accountability measures to certified hospice facilities with a three-year recertification cycle as opposed to the current six to eight-year timeframe. The increase in hospice survey frequency means hospice centers are more attentive to the changing care patients need.
Second, the HOSPICE Act allows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct a review of hospice programs that reach a threshold of patients in hospice care for more than 180 days, ensuring that those in most need of hospice care are supported.
“Without routine and consistent surveys neither hospices nor their patients can be assured that service quality meets the required regulatory standards,” said Dale Johnson, Executive Director of Hospicare and Palliative Care Services of Tompkins County. “The hospice community shares a deep interest in assuring everyone that when the word ‘hospice’ is used anywhere in the country it is synonymous with high quality, compassion and professionalism.”
President and CEO of the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State Kathy McMahon said, “Congressman Tom Reed’s Hospice Act, HR 5393, aligns with the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State’s mission to promote the availability and accessibility of quality hospice and palliative care for all persons in New York State with life-limiting illness. Congressman Reed truly understands the value of quality hospice and palliative care for his constituents, and his on-going support is deeply appreciated.”
At Hospicare at Ithaca, Reed and the group talked about ways to further strengthen hospice and palliative care in New York’s 23rd district, including the HELP Act which Reed also authored.
Learn more about Congressman Reed online.