What’s Next?

I’m not a fan of goodbyes. I also don’t like being the center of attention. So I’m going to keep this short.

Today is/was my last day at NHPCO and HAN. I’m joining my husband on an adventure to the northern plains, where he is a newly-minted Instructor of Creative Writing.

I’ve been struggling with the words for post for some time now. But what all of my thoughts and feelings boil down to is this: it has been my privilege to work with such passionate Hospice Advocates in the nearly 6 years I’ve been at NHPCO. Writing policy briefs and attending MedPAC meetings can sometimes be dull. But YOU, our front-line advocates, remind me why I do this job. Hearing your stories, and the stories of the patients and families you care for, renewed my sense of purpose in this organization. Indirectly, I have helped you and your organizations provide better care for your patients and families. And a job in DC doesn’t get much more rewarding than that.

Thank you for counting me among your ranks as a Hospice Advocate over the years. And please let me carry that title with me as I move to the next step in my journey. Who knows…I may show up at the next Advocacy Intensive as a hospice volunteer!

All my best,

100 Miles an Hour

Hannah Winters, an intern with NHPCO’s Communications team, hails from Indiana and attends Ball State University. She joined her fellow Hoosiers at the Advocacy Intensive. Below are Hannah’s reflection’s on the day.

100 miles per hour – that’s how fast a member of Congress moves. From the sound of their alarm clock to the time their head hits the pillow, their hours are spent in meetings, committees, and completing tasks that line up back to back to back. Congress members and staff are required to have the highest level of focus, efficiency, dedication, and perseverance each day during session. So how do we, as their constituents, effectively present our message, our goal, and our mission to them in a timely manner? Throughout my experience at the Hospice Action Network Advocacy Intensive of 2017, I was able to find out the answer to this question.

Yesterday, with five of my fellow Indiana constituents, I went to six different congressional offices to meet with members of Congress and their legislative staff. Throughout each meeting, I realized the importance of effective communication. I discovered what it means to strategically catch Congressmen, or the staffer’s attention by leaving a lasting impression with my own personal stories about hospice. Sharing my story and hearing the story of fellow Indianans, we were able to put personal meaning behind the legislation.

Each meeting, we came in with the goal of receiving the member’s support for specific hospice legislation. My group focused on sharing the Patient Choice and Quality Care Act and the Rural Access to Hospice Act because my group felt their patients’ care could be improved if these bills were passed. In hopes of making a meaningful connection with the members and staffers, my group shared their hospice to display the direct impact these bills. All of the stories were shared using a personal and emotional lens. I think many people forget that Congressmen, their staffers, are emotional human beings who have their own experiences with death and dying. During these meetings, I found targeting our message through an emotional appeal by presenting the facts alongside our story allowed us to conduct an effective constituent meeting with our Congressmen. I am incredibly grateful for my experience yesterday. I was able to hear moving stories while learning about and understanding legislative issues pertaining to hospice. Due to my time in Congressional meetings yesterday, I now feel confident in knowing how to have a constituent meeting with my Congressmen where my concerns are heard and addressed. Thanks to the HAN Advocacy Intensive, I now am able to catch the attention of a Congressmen whose day is flying by at 100 miles an hour.

Kinnser Software Champions Hospice Care Advocates in Washington, D.C.

The Hospice Action Network is grateful to have the support of Kinnser Software for the Advocacy Intensive for a second year. They shared the post below with us. Kinnser Software, along with Hospice Pharmacy Solutions, supports scholarships for individuals in key states and congressional districts to attend the event. Thank you!

Every day, hospice and palliative care providers like you see the impact of care and compassion on the lives of patients and their families. Every day, caregivers like you bear witness to people nearing the end of their lives and offer much-needed comfort in times of great distress.

But it can be difficult for policymakers to grasp the complexity and profound opportunity of hospice — even though their laws directly affect access to hospice care. That’s why hospice providers, patients, and families need you to share your insights and perspectives with members of Congress during the NHPCO Hospice Action Network’s 2017 Advocacy Intensive, July 17-18 in Washington, D.C.

 The 2017 Advocacy Intensive equips you with the tools and training to share your experiences with elected officials, and Kinnser Software is proud to support this event for another year. Your stories can drive real change and improve care for millions of patients for many years to come. Through advocacy, you have the power to raise policymakers’ awareness of the regulatory and legislative issues that affect hospice care for all Americans.

At Kinnser, supporting hospice care is what we do. We know your work is absolutely vital, and we wish great success for all of you participating in the 2017 Advocacy Intensive! Day in and day out, you make a difference. Now you’re making a difference for the future of hospice care and for your country. Thank you.

A Hospice Advocate, 5 Years Later

Demetress Harrell, CEO of Hospice in the Pines, shared her reflections on being a new Hospice Advocate on the HAN blog in April 2012. Today, Demetress is a veteran! Below she reflects on the importance of representing her patients in Washington, DC. If you would like to join Demetress at the 2017 Advocacy Intensive, or learn more about this year’s event, click here.

I seek to ensure that every patient is granted the highest level of end of life care and traveling to Washington D.C. annually assures that my investment gains the greatest return.

Over the years I have been extremely privileged to attend the annual Advocacy Intensive hosted by the exceptional leaders of our NHPCO Hospice Action Network.  This is one of the most valuable resources available to our industry.  As the CEO of Hospice in the Pines, a program that was established in 1986, I recognize the importance of making a prominent presence on Capitol Hill.  The impact that we make during the Advocacy Intensive is incredible and it is essential that I continue to represent the many individuals we care for daily.  The image of hospice I observed in the 90’s has changed dramatically, especially over the course of the last five years.  While we continue to embody our program with much compassion, it has become even more vital to stand together and share our common interest with our Congressional leaders.  Recognizing the policy changes, structural limitations and the many proposed laws for the future, our industry has been vastly impacted.



I believe in providing excellent quality care with the highest level of integrity and returning to Capitol Hill each year helps to define the destiny our patients.

Demetress Harrell with Andrew Keyes, Senior Legislative Assistant for Rep. Louie Gohmert

The Hospice Action Network empowers change and establishes our visibility on the Hill.  I have been honored to work with hospice patients for more than 24 years and much of our population resides in rural communities.  Therefore it is necessary to support the beautiful lives we touch and discuss the values we want to preserve.  I respect the impressive labor of NHPCO as well as our State Hospice Organizations and remain committed to their mission.   Our members understand that both good and poor decisions have consequences yet our voice assures that we are prepared to advocate for the best interest of our patient’s.  I believe in providing excellent quality care with the highest level of integrity and returning to Capitol Hill each year helps to define the destiny our patients.  The Advocacy Intensive cultivates a professional hospice network designed to improve services through advocacy.  Our greatest success involves a team willing to support a platform that will enhance the well-being of the patients. This is the reason why I embrace the opportunity to visit with our U.S. Senators, Representatives and their staff to address the key issues that affect our programs.  The personal interaction allows the time to reflect our passion and validate our devotion to the hospice. I have such adoration for the many ethical colleagues who provide good hospice care and always look forward to collaborating with them in Washington, D.C.


This is why I encourage you to join us as we make a difference together.
Support the Advocacy Intensive as we promote a stronger VOICE for the good of Hospice.

HILL — Help  Impact Legislative Leaders — Day

Sneak Peek: Advocacy Intensive 2017

Be the voice of your patients and families on Capitol Hill.

The 2017 Hospice Action Network Advocacy Intensive is your best opportunity for the hospice community to speak with one voice with the policy makers who craft legislation that impacts the hospice and palliative care community. On July 17, we will prepare you with the skills and information you will need to educate new and returning Members of Congress about the priorities of the hospice community.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the offerings we’re planning:

State of Play on Capitol Hill

Participate in a discussion with bipartisan panel of lobbying experts on what is going on here in Washington. We’ll walk you through what Congress is working (or not working) on while you’re here, and what’s likely to be on the mind of your Member of Congress or their staff when you meet with them on July 18.

How to Speak “Congress”

Ever wonder what makes the other political party tick? In this session, learn how to tailor your message to effectively communicate to Republicans and Democrats. Whether your Members of Congress are “fiscal conservatives” or “progressive liberal,” you will come away from this session able to speak to their concerns, regardless of political party, to garner support for our asks.

From Constituent to Influencer – Cultivating Strong, Meaningful Relationships with Elected Officials

Advocacy is not a once-a-year event. If you want to be more than a constituent in a crowd and if you want to have real influence with elected officials, you have to build a culture of advocacy that permeates your entire organization. During this session, faculty will discuss time-tested approaches to building strong, beneficial relationships with elected officials. Hear real-world examples from hospices that have built and sustained relationships with elected officials through site-visits, We Honor Veterans ceremonies, employee and volunteer engagement, social media campaigns, and more.

But it’s not all work. We do let you have a little fun. Just at this group!

 Questions? Email us!

Can’t wait to attend?