NHPCO Meets with CMS: New Regulatory Alert

Last week, NHPCO’s Judi Lund Person, Jennifer Kennedy, Sharon Pearce, and counsel Brooke Bumpers met with CMS to discuss regulatory changes affecting hospice. CMSMeeting

Topics under discussion included the effect of the FY2016 payment changes on Medicaid, Medicaid Managed Care, and Nursing Home Room and Board. NHPCO members can access a detailed Regulatory Alert here, and email the Regulatory Team for any questions regarding these issues.

HAN and NHPCO will continue to work diligently on complex issues related to Medicaid and hospice, and as always solicit your comments so we many understand all the complex realities these changes will have to you, our members.

Do you have any concerns about the upcoming payment changes? Do you think your state Medicaid office is ready? Let us know in the comments!

Dying at Home Brings More Peace, says British Study

A new study recently published in the journal BMC Medicine indicates that, “People who die at home experience more peace in their final days and hours than they would in a hospital, and with no greater pain.”

USNews has an article on the study, and quotes NHPCO’s Don Schumacher: “The smells, the familiarity, the comfort, the love, the things they’ve helped to create, the garden they’ve built — all of this is around them,” Schumacher said. “It creates such a sense of accomplishment and nurturing and caring.”

download (1)Unfortunately, not everyone is educated about dying-at-home as an option. People need to have discussions about their wishes for their end-of-life experience, and plan in advance to make that possible. Additionally, relatives need to accept that a loved-one’s condition is terminal, and honor their wishes to be home rather than in a hospital in their final days. Health care professionals can play a key role in facilitating these discussions, and HAN will continue to advocate for the Care Planning Act so that everyone can have access to a team of professionals designed to help them manage their illnesses and plan for the end-of-life experience that meets their wishes.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2015

Today is the big day! It is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day! HAN would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the hard-working hospice workers and volunteers who work tirelessly to provide quality end-of-life care to millions of patients around the world. You are all amazing!

What is WHPC Day? I will share with you the information from their website:

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What is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day?

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. Voices for Hospices is a wave of concerts taking place on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day every two years.

What is this year’s theme?

The theme for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day which will take place on October 10, 2015 is “Hidden Lives / Hidden Patients“.

This year’s theme will focus on the patients living in unique conditions that often struggle with access to palliative care including children, LGBT individuals, HIV prisoners, soldiers and those living in rural settings. 

When does World Hospice and Palliative Care Day take place?

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day takes place on the second Saturday of October every year and Voices for Hospices takes place on the same date every two years.

The next World Hospice and Palliative Care Day with Voices for Hospices is on October 10 2015

What are the aims of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day?

To share our vision to increase the availability of hospice and palliative care throughout the world by creating opportunities to speak out about the issues

To raise awareness and understanding of the needs – medical, social, practical, spiritual – of people living with a life limiting illness and their families

To raise funds to support and develop hospice and palliative care services around the world

Who organises World Hospice and Palliative Care Day?

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is organised by a committee of the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance, a network of hospice and palliative care national and regional organisations that support the development of hospice and palliative care worldwide. To view members of the organizing committee, go to our partners page. 

What can you do to get involved?

There are many things you can do during and in the days leading up to World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. Check out the document below on ways to get involved in World Hospice Palliative Care Day in your area! 


Is your program doing something special for WHPC Day? Let us know in the comments!


We Honor Veterans Celebrates 5 Years!

NHPCO’s We Honor Veterans program is celebrating its five year anniversary! Is your hospice a We Honor Veterans Partner? Thank you so much for your support! Are you planning anything for the anniversary? HAN will be going to the Hill with We Honor Veterans and presenting a briefing to Congress on the great work this program is doing. The briefing will be on October 22, 2015, at noon in the Congressional Visitors Center. Email us if you are interested in attending, but seating is limited.


Unfamiliar with the We Honor Veterans program? Below is the text of the press release announcing the five year anniversary, but check out their website for information on joining the program!

For Immediate Release:
October 6, 2015Organizations Across the Country Dedicated to Our Nation’s Veterans
Facing Serious Illness

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s We Honor Veterans program is celebrating its five year anniversary; NHPCO renews its partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(Alexandria, VA) – Of all the Americans who will die this year, one in four will be a Veteran.  Five years ago, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veteran Affairs launched We Honor Veterans to address the growing need for Veteran-centered care as our servicemen and servicewomen age and need access to hospice and palliative care.  This highly successful initiative will continue on as NHPCO has been awarded a two-year contract with the VA to further develop and expand the WHV program.  Today, thousands of hospice and community-based healthcare organizations across the United States are committed to understanding and addressing the unique needs of Veterans with advanced illness as WHV partners.

To commemorate the program’s five year anniversary, a special celebratory event will take place on Wednesday, October 14th, at NHPCO’s 16th Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive in Grapevine, Texas.  At the celebration, a national ‘Award of Excellence’ will be presented to one of WHV’s outstanding partners.  The award recognizes the extraordinary investment, commitment, and achievement of a hospice organization that is providing quality end-of-life care to Veterans and their families.

Since its inception, WHV has successfully grown to include the involvement of over half of the hospice community nationwide, the fastest growing program in the history of NHPCO. It now extends its efforts to include non-hospice community health care providers.  WHV provides education, resources, and technical assistance to educate hospice and other health care organizations caring for veterans whose military service, combat experience, or other traumatic events may resurface or play a pivotal role in their end-of-life experience.

“It begins with ‘Are you a Veteran?’ and builds on this with knowing what to do when the answer is ‘yes’,” says Dr. Scott Shreve, National Program Director, Hospice and Palliative Care, Department of Veterans Affairs.  “Through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ collaboration with NHPCO, seriously ill Veterans in and outside VA are being thanked for their service and receiving care from teams trained to deal with Veteran-specific issues because of We Honor Veterans.”

“We are proud of the tremendous growth and success of We Honor Veterans because it reflects the commitment our hospice and other partners have to providing quality end-of-life care to our nation’s Veterans,” says NHPCO President and CEO J. Donald Schumacher. “It is an honor to work closely with the VA and our partners to ensure that the men and women, who have given so selflessly, receive the support and compassionate care they deserve.”

The WHV program was recognized for its accomplishments in supporting Veterans by the American Society of Association Executives with a 2015 Power of A Summit Award.  The Power of A Summit Awards are ASAE’s highest honor for associations.

To learn more about We Honor Veterans and to support this important work via a secure online donation, please visit WeHonorVeterans.org.


Rep. Rod Blum (IA-01): “You’re doing God’s work”

Representative Rod Blum (IA-01) recently visited the Dennis & Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha, IA. Not only was it a successful visit, but it was written up in the local paper, too!

Rep. Rod Blum, IA-01
Rep. Rod Blum, IA-01

Rep. Blum expressed his support for hospice and relayed his personal experience with hospice: his mother Celeste was a hospice patient before her passing in 2014.

Blum also indicated his support for Medicare reimbursement for physician-patient end-of-life discussions and allowing nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to play a larger role in hospice services.

This is a FABULOUS example of how to host a site visit, engage your legislator on the issues, and get the word out via local press coverage! Kudos to Mercy Medical Center, House of Mercy, and Rep. Blum!

Want to host a visit as successful this? Check out our grassroots tools!