A Message to the NHPCO Membership from President and CEO Edo Banach.
Last week, in the wake of the reports from the Office of the Inspector General, I noted that the hospice profession rises and falls as one community. After further reflection and continued conversations about these reports with individuals both inside and outside of NHPCO about the future of our field, I am reminded once again how important it is for us to be unified and grounded in our goal to provide high-quality, person-centered care.
In order to rise together, we have a shared responsibility to refute the negative perception these stories portray. There are so many wonderful examples of amazing hospice care provided by NHPCO members each and every day. But the simple fact is this: If we are not telling our story, then the OIG report is our story. As we all know, that is not a narrative that reflects who we are and the values that define the way we deliver this important care. At the same time, we know reforms may be needed to ensure these rare instances of poor quality do not define the hospice and palliative care community.
In the weeks ahead, NHPCO will unveil and advocate for a comprehensive program integrity platform to address systemic problems in our field. These recommendations will aim to prevent fraud and abuse before it occurs. Reforms that increase transparency, support greater education and increase smart oversight must and will be supported by our organization. This means working collaboratively with our champions in Congress and policymakers in the Administration to prioritize program integrity measures to ensure they are implemented in a way that supports – instead of restricts – access to hospice for more people, earlier on their care journey.
While NHPCO will lead efforts to advance program integrity solutions, we need our members to be active participants in telling the story of the overwhelming majority of positive care experiences our programs create for families across America. It is our shared responsibility as a community to do so.
I call on you, a valued NHPCO member, to take action. Your participation is essential to elevate the value of hospice and educate healthcare policy decision makers on the high-quality, person-centered care that is hospice.
We are looking to you to speak out and tell your hospice story. If there was ever a time to get involved in NHPCO advocacy, it is now. And we have a vehicle to do this…the My Hospice campaign.
1. Make a positive headline. Reporters are paying attention to hospice issues now, so grab their attention with positive stories from your program. Submit your information for consideration and NHPCO staff will contact selected members about working to positively share your story with the media.
2. Meet your lawmaker. August recess is right around the corner. This is a time lawmakers devote to being home and meeting with their constituents. Request a meeting or attend a townhall event. Use the opportunity to correct any misconceptions your lawmaker or his/her staff has about hospice and invite them to meet with your program. We’re ready and willing to support your event. You can email the Hospice Action Network team if you have additional questions.
3. Support My Hospice. Our campaign to elevate the value of hospice among policy makers has never been as critical as it is today. Any amount is appreciated, and we encourage you to give what you can. Contribute to our campaign.
Without our joined voices, we will continue to face the uphill battle of defending our mission and misperceptions of our community as a whole. Together we can change the narrative to one that speaks our truth. We need each and every one of you. So, let’s do this and rise together.
Edo Banach, JD
President and CEO
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization