More than 240 Hospice Advocates representing 200 Congressional districts are on Capitol Hill to call on Congress for assistance in temporarily halting implementation of CMS action that is leaving hospice patients without medications they need at the end of life.
Congressional meetings with 330 offices are scheduled as part of the Hospice Action Network and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s annual Advocacy Intensive. The event highlights the role of bedside caregivers and is attended primarily by members from the hospice interdisciplinary team – physicians, nurses, Social workers, chaplains, hospice aides and volunteers.
Key issues concerning the nation’s hospice community that will be a focus of outreach during the Advocacy Intensive include:
· The harm being done to patients as a result of the poorly thought-out implementation of CMS guidance regarding Part D and prescription drug payments for hospice patients.
· The conﬂuence of reimbursement cuts, increased regulatory and administrative burdens (PDF), and the prospect of signiﬁcant additional changes to the Medicare Hospice Beneﬁt in the near future, which are jeopardizing the health of the hospice community and access to it.
“Given the impact on patients who are facing the final days, weeks or months of their lives, the prior authorization process for Part D beneficiaries who are on hospice must be temporarily halted,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO, “The policy itself is not the issue, the problem is that there is no existing infrastructure in place to support the Guidance by CMS and protect the patient.”
Advocates and hospice supporters across the country are participating virtually by contacting their elected officials in an outreach effort coordinated by HAN’s “Click to Call” campaign increasing the presence of hospice on Capitol Hill throughout the week.
More than 1.5 million patients, along with their family caregivers, receive care from our nation’s hospices every year, reports NHPCO.
“One of the primary purposes of this event is to convene a robust and diverse group that could share the stories of hospice with members of Congress,” added Schumacher. “Taking frontline hospice professional to the Hill is a priority and I’m pleased to report that more than half of our participants are clinical staff.”
For more information on Hospice Action Network and advocacy efforts, visit: www.hospiceactionnetwork.com.