Coordinated advocacy efforts focused on the poorly thought-out implementation of CMS guidance regarding the recent CMS policy on Part D and prescription drug payments for hospice patients have brought positive results.
Through the NHPCO and Hospice Action Network’s annual Advocacy Intensive and the virtual ‘click2call’ campaign, Congress heard the hospice community’s message in record numbers. And not only did they hear the message, they listened and they acted! The sign-on letter campaign was a resounding success; here’s a breakdown of the co-signers:
- 75 United States Senators
- 202 Members of the House of Representatives
- 19 out of 24 Members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over hospice in the Senate
- 26 out of 39 Members of the House Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over hospice in the House of Representatives
- 9 states ‘ran the table’ and had their entire Congressional delegation sign on (IA, ND, AR, ME, HI, WY, AK, WV & NH)!
- 15 Members of Congress who are also physicians or nurses signed on
“Quite simply, we don’t think there could have been a stronger showing for our community,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “But that’s not all! NHPCO & HAN have been working on this issue through a number of other legislative channels on behalf of the hospice community.”
Additional results from advocacy efforts include:
- Letter by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) to CMS asking to halt implementation
- Coalition letter from over 45 stakeholder groups asking CMS to halt implementation
- NHPCO was also part of a stakeholder meeting at CMS, where all stakeholder groups (Part D Plans, Hospices, Pharmacy Providers and Patient Groups) unanimously called for a halt to implementation
- NHPCO also expects the Senate Aging Committee to send their own letter to CMS later this week.
And last week, even the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) commented on the guidance, and suggested that the guidance be suspended until a uniform process can be implemented.
Through the efforts of Hospice Advocates across the nation, both Congress and CMS have heard what this misguided policy is doing to the patients and families being cared for by hospice providers.
For more information on this issue, please visit HAN’s Hospice & Part D page.