Check Out Our NEW Advocacy Toolkit!

The HAN team is always creating resources that will make it easier for hospice and palliative care advocates to make their voices heard in the Congressional arena.  If you’re the new kid on the block, you may be wondering where to start and you may even have a few questions about how the legislative process works. If you’re a seasoned advocate, you might just need to dust off your shoulders a little bit with a quick refresh on some of our policy initiatives.

Either way, fret not my fellow advocates – we gotcha covered! Our new Advocacy Toolkit is the perfect resource for you and your constituents to become more engaged in the political process.

Our Advocacy Toolkit:

  • Provides an overview of the legislative process as well as our policy initiatives.
  • Helps you discover who your legislators are.
  • Offers resources that will help connect you with your legislators (including email templates and webinars).
  • Enables advocates to write to their members of Congress on issues of importance to the hospice and palliative care community.

Check it out and let us know if you believe this is a helpful tool or if you find areas that need improvement.  Feel free to contact us at

As always, the HAN Team is monitoring activity in Congress and the Administration and will continue to keep you in the know!  We’ll do our part, now we need you to get ready to advocate!


Data and the Opioid Crisis

A recap on a Senate hearing about data and the opioid crisis
by Lenka Vanova:

As the fifth one in a series of hearings on the opioid crisis, on Tuesday February 27th, the U. S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on The Role of Technology and Data in Preventing and Treating Addiction. Chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander and co-chaired by Sen. Patty Murray, the hearing presented an opportunity to explore the intricate issue from various perspectives.

Snezana Mahon, Vice President Clinical Product Development of Express Scripts, presented results of the Advanced Opioid ManagementTM Program. The program can be inspiring in its combination of prescriber engagement, patient education and outreach, as well as engagement of pharmacies in its effort to reduce opioid consumption and potential misuse and abuse. Sherry L. Green of Sherry L. Green & Associations, LLC and a co-founder of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws called primarily for the standards which technology and data solutions are to facilitate to remain clear and consistent. This is not only essential for all parties to be able to comply with these but also to allow data sharing across various systems. Snaket Shah, Clinical Assistant Professor of Health Informatics at the University of Illinois, Chicago stressed that data sharing is crucial to any analysis and also to the possibility  to identify individuals who are at risk of becoming opioid dependent.  With all this in mind, H. Wesley Clark, Dean’s Executive Professor of Public Health Program at Santa Clara University urged all parties to remain cautious about patient privacy and data protection.

In all the testimonies, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) tended to be one of the most often mentioned weapons in the opioid overdose epidemic combat. It is also one that has been implemented in almost all states in a hope to identify potentially harmful behavior and prevent opioid misuse and abuse among patients. A tool which is currently not as widely established but one that is believed to complement PDMPs to prevent further spread of the opioid epidemic is electronic prescribing (e-prescribing). Currently, increasing numbers of states require its use for controlled substances in order to prevent pharmacy shopping, to enable better prescription tracking, and to reduce fraud and waste.

A Quality Measures Public Workshop – Register Today!

On April 17, 2018, the Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious illness will host a public workshop on the implementation of quality measures for community-based care programs for serious illness.  NHPCO’s own Vice President of Research and Quality and Health Policy, Carol Spence, will be a presenter and you won’t want to miss out on all of the knowledge that will be shared!

For more information about this event, read the description below:

Millions of people currently live with one or more serious illnesses such as cancer, heart, lung, or kidney disease. Serious illness knows no age limits and affects those from the preborn to those of advanced age. The number of community-based programs to provide care to those facing serious illness have grown significantly, but the quality of care provided is not consistent across geographic locations or care settings. To ensure the best care for all people living with serious illness, it is important to implement quality measures in a way that will hold providers accountable for the delivery of high-quality care.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness is hosting a public workshop, Implementing Quality Measures for Accountability in Community-based Care for People with Serious Illness. Workshop presentations will explore the gaps, challenges, and opportunities in quality measures implementation for accountability purposes and will highlight the perspectives of health care providers and payers. Implementation of quality measures in the context of public programs and potential policy levers to affect change will also be discussed. Innovative approaches to the use of accreditation to enhance accountability will be explored, as well as ways to support clinical communities for quality and accountability. The workshop program will begin with a conversation about what quality care means for patients, families, and caregivers, and will explore ways to better align quality information and resources to reflect their values and needs. Shantanu Agrawal, MD, CEO and President of NQF, will present the Keynote address.


NHPCO Responds to Opioid Crisis

The Senate Finance Committee recently solicited input from NHPCO and other stakeholders on ways to address the opioid epidemic as it relates to Medicare, Medicaid, and Human Services programs.  NHPCO responded to the inquiry, outlining some important details regarding opioids’ role in end-of-life care, how the hospice community is actively working toward avoiding drug diversion and how hospice and palliative care providers can play an even greater role in helping with the treatment of serious pain.

NHPCO also highlighted how many hospices offer grief and bereavement support to communities that are experiencing loss as a result of the opioid epidemic.

NHPCO will continue to work closely with policymakers state and federal policy changes do not unintentionally impair the hospice and palliative care community’s ability to effectively manage their patient’s pain and symptoms.

To read the letter, click here.

Hospice and Palliative Care Champions at Work!

Hospice and palliative care champions, Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Mark Warner, Representative Phil Roe, and Representative Earl Blumenauer sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma this week urging them to take administrative action in regards to the Patient Choice and Quality Care Act (PCQCA).  PCQCA would allow a person-centered approach to planning for the care and treatment of patients with advanced illness and will help patients, families, and providers understand care options and choices. Specifically the letter urges CMS to develop a patient-centered advanced care management model, develop better quality measures across the care continuum, and expand the Beneficiary Engagement and Incentives Model to include advanced illness management.

Furthermore, during a Ways and Means Committee Hearing yesterday, Congressman Blumenauer discussed how to improve end-of-life care with HHS Secretary Alex Azar.  The transcript and clip is below:

Rep. Blumenauer – “…One of the things I appreciated in your testimony during your confirmation was a reference being sensitive to the needs of American families facing challenges at the end of life and what can we do to be able to strengthen the protections to be able to make sure they get the care that they want. We’ve made some progress, it was more trouble than I thought with the last Administration but we’re moving some things forward. My good friend Dr. Roe and I have bipartisan legislation, that’s been broadly supported, H.R. 2797, and I would hope that there would be a way to work with you to drill down to deal with making sure we advance models, like in our legislation, to make sure that patients all patients have timely access to palliative and hospice care and to be able to have progress dealing with quality measurements to make sure we are monitoring what is in fact happening and to make sure we have confidence in that.”

Secretary Azar – “…I share your goals there and I want to ensure that individuals who are facing the end of life can do so an approach it with dignity and that we’re helping them in the setting that they wish to be in and also that they can face those issues that they’re facing with as much clarity for family members and others about their own desires and plans as possible, so I look forward to working with you in this area.”

Rep.  Blumenauer – “Great. I would appreciate the opportunity to refine that, to make sure their wishes are honored, that they follow them in the era of electronic medical records. I think there is a lot of bipartisan opportunity to get more out of the system and I look forward to working with you on it.”

His remarks can also be found here at the 49:45 minute mark.

NHPCO is especially appreciative of these policy-making champions leadership on behalf of patients and families nearing the end-of-life and looks forward to working with them to better promote the interest of hospice and palliative care providers.