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.