Keep on Calling!

We are getting some great feedback from our people on Capitol Hill regarding your Click2Call efforts! Here is the tally so far:

New Signatories to the Roberts/Warner CMS Testing Letter:

1. Jon Tester (MT)

2.  Mazie Hirono (HI)

3. Kelly Ayotte (NH)

4. Cory Gardner (CO)

New Co-Sponsors to the Care Planning Act (S. 1549):

– No hard commitments yet, keep those calls coming!

New Co-Sponsors to the Hospice Access Improvement Act of 2015 (HR 3037):

1. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA8)

2. Alcee Hastings (F-FL20)

3. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ1)

 

We will keep Click2Call open though Friday, when the sign-on period for the Roberts/Warner letter closes. Keep calling, emailing, tweeting, and facebooking your legislators to get some more signatures! Especially try for those legislators who have supported the Care Planning Act, but not yet signed the letter!

 

In the meantime, here are some great pictures from our Click2Call Advocates!

Kristy DeWitt is a Hospice Advocate! Thanks Kristy!
Kristy DeWitt is a Hospice Advocate! Thanks Kristy!
Janice Valentino is a Hospice Advocate! Thanks Janice!
Janice Valentino is a Hospice Advocate! Thanks Janice!
Kathryn Grigsby is a Hospice Advocate! Thanks Kathryn!
Kathryn Grigsby is a Hospice Advocate! Thanks Kathryn!

DC’n Ain’t Easy… So Thanks For The Help.

I just wanted to write a quick note of thanks to Outcome Resources, our sponsor for the 2015 Advocacy Intensive. You see, there are some behind-the-scenes parts about the Intensive that really need critical support that you might not know about.

For starters, the event is free for attendees. We know that getting to DC isn’t easy, and that the hotel rates can be… steep, but still we do our best to remove as many barriers to attendance as possible. Believe me, if you thought the rooms were expensive, you should see how much a boxed lunch costs!!!

Cost: One arm, one leg.
Cost: One arm, one leg.

Secondly, we welcome robust attendance from every hospice program that wants to send their caregivers and attendees. But if you know a bit about how the Congressional process works, you’ll know that there are key committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate that have jurisdiction over hospice issues. It’s critical that the hospice community have attendees from those states and districts whose Members of Congress sit on those committees. Many (but not all) of the Members of Congress on those committees are from rural states where the funds to cover a visit to DC are simply too scarce. That’s where support from Outcome Resources comes through.

This year, sponsorship by Outcome Resources provided travel assistance to cover 15 key states and Congressional districts! I can’t even put into words how much this helps. Our voice, your voice is stronger as a direct result of this support.

<center>A few of the 2015 Scholarship Attendees w/ Dr. McDonough of Outcome Resources.</center>
A few of the 2015 Scholarship Attendees w/ Dr. McDonough of Outcome Resources

So while we’re all still Zombies here at HAN HQ, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say a huge ‘Thanks!’ to Outcome Resources. They have been long-time supporters of the Intensive, not only financially, but also in their commitment to advocacy. They serve on NHPCO’s Public Policy Committee, and they always send a great delegation to the Advocacy Intensive. They’re ‘all in’ with us, and we’re thankful for their partnership!

 

Advocacy Intensive 2015 Roundup

O…M…G…. wasn’t that a blast? I hope you attendees had as much fun as the HAN staff. We are all recovering over here: going through your feedback forms, poking Members of Congress that need poking, and thanking Members who have already taken action. I am happy to report that Rep. Alcee Hastings (D, FL-20) and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R, PA-08) have agreed to co-sponsor HR 3037, the Hospice Care Access Improvement Act, so special thanks to our advocates from these districts and the people who used Click2Call to advocate from home!

I have heard rumors of several Senators who are about to join the letter to CMS led by Senators Roberts (KS) and Warner (VA), so stay tuned for more news once that is official. No word yet on any more cosponsors for the Care Planning Act, but keep up with Click2Call, and hopefully we will see some movement there as well!

If you weren’t able to be with us in DC this week, (or if you were and aren’t exhausted…) Click2Call will remain open until next Wednesday, when the sign-on period for the Roberts/Warner letter closes. Please encourage your fellow hospice advocates to call their Members of Congress, and then get the word out through social media so that others can join in! Special thanks to the gang at AseraCare, who had almost, if not all of their locations call in, and sent us great pictures too!

On a personal note, I am SO THRILLED by how many of you have been engaging on social media! I have seen several new twitter accounts, and my feed is blowing up with hashtags, favorites, and retweets! Keep it up, and don’t forget to tag your Members of Congress!

We will keep  you updated as our ‘asks’ continue to move around the Hill, and keep your eyes peeled for a special guest blog post, coming soon!

I will close with one of the lighter moments during #HAN15, courtesy of the Missouri Delegation. They were so busy, there was no time to stop for a snack, so they availed themselves of the Congressional Cafeteria it seems 🙂

 

 

Quick Take: ACP Codes and the Care Planning Act

Let’s take a quick break from the Advocacy Intensive to talk some policy! Woo!

Yesterday, CMS published the the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule. In this proposed rule, CMS is indicating that the establishment of payment rates for advance care planning conversations between physicians and patients can begin as early as January 1, 2016, and that physicians  will receive payment for these physician-patient conversations around advance directives and discussions around patient goals of care. Pretty great, right? We think so, and we’re not alone:

Senator Warner’s support of Medicare reimbursement for end of life planning shouldn’t come as a surprise to Hospice Advocates by now. But what does this mean for the Care Planning Act? Does it still have legs? Quite simply, yes. As you learned on our Care Planning Act resource page, the Care Planning Act, introduced by Senators Warner and Isakson (@SenatorIsakson), creates a benefit establishes Medicare reimbursement for an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals to provide a voluntary and structured discussion about the goals and treatment options for individuals with serious illness, resulting in a documented care plan that reflects the informed choices made by patients in consultation with members of their health care team, faith leaders, family members and friends.

Advance care planning discussions with a physician are critically important. But if you find your self in a crisis situation, suddenly diagnosed with a serious illness, you have so much more than physical health to consider. And the reality of a situation has a funny way of making you question, and possibly even change, your perspective on treatments you previously thought you wanted. Working with a team of professionals to help you navigate your care plan in critically important for individuals facing life-limiting illnesses. 

And that’s why we’ll be on Capitol Hill asking Senators to support the Care Planning Act at the Advocacy Intensive!

(I told you it would only be quick break from the Advocacy Intensive!)