The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization today welcomed the White House announcement of stepped-up efforts to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on the policy that will require health workers and volunteers to be vaccinated if they work for providers that participate in Medicare and Medicaid.
NHPCO President and CEO, Edo Banach, said, “The Biden Administration today announced several policies to enhance the nation’s approach to preventing and managing the spread of COVID-19. One key component of the announcement is a policy NHPCO has advocated for: a requirement that workers and volunteers in healthcare settings that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, including hospices, hospitals, and home healthcare, be vaccinated against COVID-19. This requirement will improve health and safety for health workers, volunteers, patients, and their families. And, because it applies so broadly, it will also help address staffing challenges within the healthcare sector. On behalf of our member hospices and patients across the country, I am pleased to see this NHPCO recommendation going into effect.”
Last month, when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will require staff working in Medicare and Medicaid-participating nursing homes to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Banach said the policy would help protect patients and advocated the requirement be expanded to all health workers and volunteers in all settings—including home health, home hospice, and home palliative care workers. Since then, NHPCO has worked closely with key partners in the Administration to advocate for such a requirement.
Banach continued, “Throughout the pandemic, NHPCO has successfully advocated for the resources, including federal financial support, to enable the hospice community to continue serving patients. The policies announced today come with a significant financial burden associated with implementation, which the federal government should bear by making financial resources available to healthcare providers, including but not limited to additional support under the Provider Relief Fund.”
As the leader in person- and family-centered care, NHPCO looks forward to continuing to work with the Administration to ensure the health and safety of the American people, especially by ensuring the hospice community is able to continue meeting patients’ needs.