Priorities include prioritizing COVID-19 relief, innovating on how serious-illness care is provided and improving access to high-quality hospice and palliative care.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) sent a letter to President-elect Joseph Biden, highlighting the hospice and palliative care priorities NHPCO wishes the new Administration to address. The letter outlines a set of priority recommendations that NHPCO urges the Biden Administration to implement during their first 100 days in office as they require immediate attention:
- Protect Patients and Families
Hospice providers are front line health care workers who are increasingly being exposed to COVID-19. Hospice workers, hospice patients and their caregivers should be prioritized for receiving COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as they are available, and providers should be a priority in FEMA PPE distribution and testing. NHPCO also calls for extended regulatory flexibilities, paused audits, and expanded economic support and funding for bereavement care to ensure hospice providers can continue offering high quality care during the pandemic.
- Innovate How Serious Illness Care is Provided
COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on the “holes” in care for seriously ill individuals and their families. Innovative approaches are needed to provide the “right care at the right time” for patients with serious illness and their families.To that end, NHPCO supports concurrent care with hospice, the creation of a community-based palliative care benefit, and expansion of advance care planning. NHPCO also asked that the Biden Administration halt implementation of the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (MA VBID) Model by at least one year to allow technical and operational issues to be addressed. Hospice patients and their families deserve a demonstration that improves access to high quality care at the end of life.
- Improve Access to Hospice and Palliative Care
To help more Americans access the person-centered care offered by hospice, NHPCO is working to reduce racial disparities in access and strengthen the hospice and palliative care workforce. NHPCO also encourages the removal of the six-month prognosis barrier to hospice and increasing hospice access in rural and underserved areas.
“The incoming Biden Administration has a golden opportunity to impact the lives of the most vulnerable Americans. Hospice and palliative care providers, patients, and their caregivers deserve now more than ever the attention of federal policy makers to support people on the front lines of this global pandemic. We look forward to partnering with this administration on day one to move important policy changes from powerful ideas into immediate and effective actions,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach.