Photo: NHPCO’s hospice ambassadors with board members.
NHPCO Member Providers Convene on Capitol Hill to Advocate for the Rural Access to Hospice Act and Promote Hospice Program Integrity
Hospice providers from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) are on Capitol Hill this week to advocate for reforms that would increase access to hospice and palliative care in America’s rural towns and improve hospice care quality.
“All Americans should be given access to quality hospice care, no matter their zip code,” said Sandy Kuhlman, Executive Director of Hospice Services of Northwest Kansas and one of NHPCO’s visiting My Hospice Ambassadors. “For this reason, we are bringing our message to Washington and asking our representatives to improve and reform hospice and palliative care policies that will increase access, refine oversight, advance education and improve transparency for providers and consumers alike.”
Hospice advocates are urging lawmakers to support the Rural Access to Hospice Act of 2019 (H.R. 2594), bipartisan legislation introduced by Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) that will allow Rural Health Centers (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to receive payment for serving as the hospice attending physician. If passed, the legislation would fix a technical glitch that currently prevents terminally ill beneficiaries in underserved and rural communities from utilizing the physician of their choice when entering hospice care.
NHPCO members will also talk to lawmakers about the organization’s Program Integrity Initiative, which overviews provider supported reforms and opportunities for proactive collaboration with Congress and federal regulators to increase oversight, education, and transparency.
As the leading nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States, NHPCO is committed to encouraging an environment that pays for value rather than volume, working to ensure providers deliver person-centered interdisciplinary care that builds on the field’s four decades of service. To that end, NHPCO’s Program Integrity Initiative offers expert recommendations to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Congress for provider-supported reforms to help stop fraud and abuse before it occurs and increases hospice data transparency.
Hospice providers from Florida, Indiana, Kansas, California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Tennessee plan to meet with Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Todd Young (R-IN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Reps. Donna Shalala (D-FL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Roger Marshall (R-KA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Scott Perry (R-PA), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), David Kustoff (R-TN), Susie Lee (D-NV) and Steven Horsford (D-NV). Attendees serve as My Hospice Ambassadors and were selected by NHPCO to engage with federal lawmakers to enhance awareness of hospice and palliative care public policy issues.
“We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to simplify and streamline the hospice benefit and compliance process to ensure taxpayer resources are spent wisely,” noted Kuhlman. “More oversight of new and poor-performing hospice providers would protect the most vulnerable, while easing unnecessary governmental red tape on honest and law-abiding hospice providers so they can continue to provide high-quality, person-centered care. Accountability leads to credibility. Our goal is to ensure patients and their families have the utmost confidence in their hospice program.”
Learn more about the My Hospice Campaign.