NHPCO Applauds Release of Emergency Funding for Hospice under the CARES Act

Categories: In The Media.

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced plans for the immediate release of $30 billion in grant funding for Medicare providers in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  These grants make up one portion of the $100 billion appropriated for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the “CARES Act,” the third coronavirus emergency package passed by Congress on March 27.  The Administration’s plans include disbursements to hospice and palliative care providers which HHS will release via direct deposit starting today.

Securing emergency funds for hospice and palliative care providers is the culmination of a multifaceted advocacy strategy executed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization which began with a March 4 meeting at the White House.  At that meeting, NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach and hospice leaders met with Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House COVID-19 Task Force, including CMS Administrator Seema Verma and Ambassador Dr. Deborah Birx, to discuss the important role of hospice and palliative care providers in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. NHPCO and its affiliate, the Hospice Action Network (HAN), brought the unique needs of hospice providers before Congress and the Administration to ensure that the CARES Act included provisions that would enable hospice providers to continue safely caring for patients and families during this pandemic.

Hospice providers across the nation, including in “hot spots,” are serving the most vulnerable populations and as a result have incurred considerable expenses and lost revenue directly related to their COVID-19 response efforts. The CARES Act grants are a first step in addressing issues that hospices face including considerable costs for personal protective equipment, respiratory supplies, and expenses related to ensuring an essential workforce.

“The Administration and Congress should be applauded for providing emergency relief funds to the hospice and palliative care community. The hospice and palliative care workforce is on the frontlines every day caring for the most vulnerable patients and their families suffering unimaginable pain and loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach.

“NHPCO and our hospice champions secured funding that will support treatment of patients in hospice inpatient facilities and in the home, as hospice providers do their part in decompressing the health care system and saving lives during this national emergency.  In the coming months, further relief will be necessary as hundreds of thousands of patients and families will rely on hospice and community-based palliative care providers for person-centered interdisciplinary care and bereavement services,” Banach said.

“In hospice, we consistently care for the seriously ill wherever they call home, keeping them out of the hospital and helping to improve safety and reduce anxiety. That’s what we do every day. The Administration and our Congressional leaders, including Majority Whip James Clyburn, have our gratitude and support for ensuring we have the resources we need to continue to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carla Davis, CEO of Charleston, South Carolina-based Heart of Hospice.

Congressional allies like Leader McConnell have long acknowledged the critical role that hospice providers serve in caring for our most vulnerable citizens.  This funding is a lifeline that will allow us to continue our focus on serving the seriously ill and support our hospital and nursing home partners with expert end of life care.   With prices for things like face masks that have gone up as much as 2,000 percent, the CARES Act funding is essential in the face of COVID-19 to ensuring access to high-quality hospice and palliative care services. We appreciate the President, Administrator and Leader providing the CARES grants funding to minimize the financial hardship many hospices are facing during this difficult time,” said Liz Fowler, CEO of Kentucky-based hospice provider Bluegrass Care Navigators.

As the attention of the world remains focused on COVID-19, NHPCO offers relevant and timely resources for community-based hospice providers serving patients and families where they live at nhpco.org/coronavirus.

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