On July 18, more than 230 hospice advocates – physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, counselors, home health aides and volunteers – will go to Capitol Hill to meet with their Members of Congress to support the Patient Choice and Quality Care Act of 2017 and the Rural Access to Hospice Act. The group is in Washington, D.C. to attend the Hospice Action Network and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s 2017 Advocacy Intensive.
This year’s event theme, “Be Their Voice,” encapsulates the need for advocacy on behalf of hospice patients and their loved ones. During the two-day event, attendees learn best practices for advocating for hospice and how to connect directly with their Members of Congress on Capitol Hill and back in their home districts. They will tell their patient’s stories and educate policymakers about hospice and palliative care.
Congressional meetings with over 300 offices are scheduled.
“The HAN Advocacy Intensive, going strong since 2012, has brought more than 1,300 hospice advocates to Washington, D.C.” says NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach. “This event is our opportunity to represent the people we care for and who are served by hospice and palliative care and to advocate on their behalf.”
The advocates will provide information about two specific policy issues that could impact the hospice community.
- The Patient Choice & Quality Care Act of 2017 [H.R. 2797/S. 1334], sponsored by Congressmen Phil Roe (R-TN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), authorizes an Advanced Illness Coordination Services demonstration, which will allow an interdisciplinary team to provide early palliative care and wrap-around, home-based services to individuals with multiple and complex chronic conditions. The legislation also supports advance care planning including strengthening advance directive portability.
- Rural Access to Hospice Act [H.R. 1828/S. 2786], sponsored by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the Senate and Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) in the House, will address statutory barriers that prevent Rural Health Clinic and Federally Qualified Health clinic physicians from serving as their patients’ attending physician during hospice care.
In addition to the work hospice advocates will be doing on Capitol Hill, advocates and hospice supporters across the country are participating virtually by contacting their elected officials in an outreach effort, Virtual Hill Week.
More than 1.6 million patients, along with their family caregivers, receive care from our nation’s hospices every year, reports NHPCO.
For more information on Hospice Action Network, Virtual Hill Week and advocacy efforts, visit: www.hospiceactionnetwork.org.