Advocacy Needed!

You may have heard that there is A LOT going on in Washington, DC right now, so we need our Advocates to do two important things:

Please complete our Action Alerts on the following hospice and palliative care legislation:

  1. The Rural Access to Hospice Act
  2. The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act
  3. The Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act
  4. And please share these links with your networks to help spread the word!

Please reach out and invite your Members of Congress to visit your program.  

  1. Congress has TWO upcoming district work periods (May 27-June 2, and July 3-7). This is the perfect time to invite your Members of Congress to visit your program, meet with your staff, and discuss the above-mentioned legislation.
  2. If you are a We Honor Veterans partner, please invite your Members of Congress to attend your upcoming Memorial Day and July 4th Honor Ceremonies.
  3. Check out our resources to help you host a Member of Congress:
    1. Find Your Members of Congress
    2. Email us if you need the scheduler’s email address!
    3. Template Invitation Letter
    4. Involving a Member of Congress in a We Honor Veterans Ceremony Video

You can find more resources in the Advocacy Toolkit on our website.

It is especially important that Congress hear from you, their constituents! We need you to show them what hospice and palliative care really looks like in their district, and be strong, effective advocates for the patients and families you serve. Please reach out to us if you need any help with finding the right Member of Congress, contacting their office, and/or organizing an event. And, if you do meet with Members of Congress, make sure to tell us about it!

Keep up the great work, and please let us know how we can help you!

Rita Isnetto (GA Executive Director), and Anna Evans (Music Therapist) at Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care in Atlanta, GA, hosted Senator Johnny Isakson for a discussion about the We Honor Veterans Program and how it helps care for the unique needs of Veterans at the end-of-life. You can do something similar!

Advocacy Pro Tip!

Did you know that HAN has up-to-date resources available for you to share with your Member of Congress, their staff, or your colleagues?!

Advocacy Pro Tip: On HAN’s Supported Legislation page, you can find our letters of support and an overview for the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act, PCHETA, and the Rural Access to Hospice Act! Every time we support a piece of legislation, resources will find their way to the Supported Legislation page. Plus, these are great background documents if you want to take action on a bill but need a little help to know why it’s important!

Questions? Contact HAN at info@nhpcohan.org!

The Senate Side of Repeal and Replace

Yesterday, the House passed the revised American Healthcare Act (AHCA), taking a key step towards the repeal and replacement of Obamacare/Affordable Care Act. The bill now goes to the Senate. So, what does that mean?

As widely predicted, the Senate is expected to re-write the House repeal and replace bill to accommodate procedural hurdles in the Senate as well as to address political and policy concerns.  The House bill, as amended, has not yet been scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The score is not expected for possibly two weeks. The Senate reconciliation rules require a CBO score in order to evaluate whether H.R. 1628, The American Health Care Act of 2017, is a privileged vehicle and which provisions violate the Senate Byrd Rule. This process is done in consultation with the Senate Parliamentarian and allows both sides of the aisle the opportunity to make their case.  This procedural and budgetary review is expected to take weeks.

In addition, the Senate will offer a substitute to the House bill and that substitute will also need to be scored prior to any floor consideration both for political and procedural requirements.  As a result, it is possible that the Senate doesn’t even start a debate until mid/late June at the earliest.

The Senate Leadership is expected to convene a working group of a cross section of Senators including Chairmen Hatch (Senate Finance Committee), Alexander (Senate HELP Committee) and Enzi (Senate Budget Committee) to address priorities and Member needs.  Issues that are likely to be addressed are: the adequacy of the tax credit, Medicaid construct, and how to address the insurance mandates, among others.  In the aftermath of the House celebration yesterday, Chairman Hatch emphasized that the Senate package will reflect their Members’ priorities coupled with the constraints of the reconciliation process, stating “We must manage expectation and remain focused on the art of the doable as we move forward.”

Our understanding is that the task force includes the following Members, representing Leadership, key constituencies and key issues:

> Hatch (R-UT)

> Alexander (R-TN)

> Enzi (R-WY)

> Thune (R-SD)

> Cruz (R-TX)

> Lee (R-UT)

> Cotton (R-AR)

> Gardner (R-CO)

> Barrasso (R-WY)

> Cornyn (R-TX)

> Portman (R-OH)

> Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Now, keep in mind that while hospice and palliative care are not expected to be impacted by the repeal and replace process, it is still important for advocates to pay attention to the process. Have any questions? Reach out to us at info@nhpcohan.org!

Congressman Tom Reed Celebrates Hospice Volunteers

Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23) wanted to make a special Thank You to the thousands of hospice volunteers who donate millions of hours to help patients and families facing the end of life. Check out his video below:

Congressman Reed is himself a hospice volunteer, and we thank him for his dedication to hospice not only in Congress, but as a volunteer as well. Thank you for your passion and ongoing support!

FY2018 Hospice Wage Index Proposed Rule Released

The Proposed Rule is out! It is available for public review here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2017-08563.pdf.

The NHPCO Regulatory Team is hard at work analyzing the rule, and members can access their preliminary assessment here.

If you wish to comment on the Proposed Rule, you can do so through Regulations.gov, and please email regulatory@nhpco.org with your feedback as we create our response.

Stay tuned for more information as the Proposed Rule is reviewed!