100 Miles an Hour

Hannah Winters, an intern with NHPCO’s Communications team, hails from Indiana and attends Ball State University. She joined her fellow Hoosiers at the Advocacy Intensive. Below are Hannah’s reflection’s on the day.

100 miles per hour – that’s how fast a member of Congress moves. From the sound of their alarm clock to the time their head hits the pillow, their hours are spent in meetings, committees, and completing tasks that line up back to back to back. Congress members and staff are required to have the highest level of focus, efficiency, dedication, and perseverance each day during session. So how do we, as their constituents, effectively present our message, our goal, and our mission to them in a timely manner? Throughout my experience at the Hospice Action Network Advocacy Intensive of 2017, I was able to find out the answer to this question.

Yesterday, with five of my fellow Indiana constituents, I went to six different congressional offices to meet with members of Congress and their legislative staff. Throughout each meeting, I realized the importance of effective communication. I discovered what it means to strategically catch Congressmen, or the staffer’s attention by leaving a lasting impression with my own personal stories about hospice. Sharing my story and hearing the story of fellow Indianans, we were able to put personal meaning behind the legislation.

Each meeting, we came in with the goal of receiving the member’s support for specific hospice legislation. My group focused on sharing the Patient Choice and Quality Care Act and the Rural Access to Hospice Act because my group felt their patients’ care could be improved if these bills were passed. In hopes of making a meaningful connection with the members and staffers, my group shared their hospice to display the direct impact these bills. All of the stories were shared using a personal and emotional lens. I think many people forget that Congressmen, their staffers, are emotional human beings who have their own experiences with death and dying. During these meetings, I found targeting our message through an emotional appeal by presenting the facts alongside our story allowed us to conduct an effective constituent meeting with our Congressmen. I am incredibly grateful for my experience yesterday. I was able to hear moving stories while learning about and understanding legislative issues pertaining to hospice. Due to my time in Congressional meetings yesterday, I now feel confident in knowing how to have a constituent meeting with my Congressmen where my concerns are heard and addressed. Thanks to the HAN Advocacy Intensive, I now am able to catch the attention of a Congressmen whose day is flying by at 100 miles an hour.

Congress Moves to Improve Advanced Illness Care

The Patient Choice and Quality Care Act was introduced to the House of Representatives on June 7th by Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and today in the Senate by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

NHPCO and HAN strongly support this legislation. This legislation is a step forward for the hospice and palliative communities. The Patient Choice and Quality Care Act of 2017 (H.R. 2797) will give patients and families living with advanced and life-limiting illnesses access to the kind of information and services they need. This bicameral, bipartisan legislation directs the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to conduct an Advanced Illness Coordination Services demonstration.

This demonstration will support the following:

  • Allow an interdisciplinary team to provide early palliative care and wrap-around, home-based services to individuals with multiple and complex chronic conditions
  • Include at least one face-to-face encounter with a patient, family caregiver or legal guardian to discuss
    • the patient’s typical illness trajectory,
    • help the individual define and articulate goals of care and care preferences
    • Treatment options
  • Strengthen Advance directive portability by encouraging providers from difference states to follow one advance directive

Learn more about the Patient Choice and Quality Care Act and ask your Members of Congress to cosponsor this legislation.

A Hospice Advocate, 5 Years Later

Demetress Harrell, CEO of Hospice in the Pines, shared her reflections on being a new Hospice Advocate on the HAN blog in April 2012. Today, Demetress is a veteran! Below she reflects on the importance of representing her patients in Washington, DC. If you would like to join Demetress at the 2017 Advocacy Intensive, or learn more about this year’s event, click here.

I seek to ensure that every patient is granted the highest level of end of life care and traveling to Washington D.C. annually assures that my investment gains the greatest return.

Over the years I have been extremely privileged to attend the annual Advocacy Intensive hosted by the exceptional leaders of our NHPCO Hospice Action Network.  This is one of the most valuable resources available to our industry.  As the CEO of Hospice in the Pines, a program that was established in 1986, I recognize the importance of making a prominent presence on Capitol Hill.  The impact that we make during the Advocacy Intensive is incredible and it is essential that I continue to represent the many individuals we care for daily.  The image of hospice I observed in the 90’s has changed dramatically, especially over the course of the last five years.  While we continue to embody our program with much compassion, it has become even more vital to stand together and share our common interest with our Congressional leaders.  Recognizing the policy changes, structural limitations and the many proposed laws for the future, our industry has been vastly impacted.

 

 

I believe in providing excellent quality care with the highest level of integrity and returning to Capitol Hill each year helps to define the destiny our patients.

Demetress Harrell with Andrew Keyes, Senior Legislative Assistant for Rep. Louie Gohmert

The Hospice Action Network empowers change and establishes our visibility on the Hill.  I have been honored to work with hospice patients for more than 24 years and much of our population resides in rural communities.  Therefore it is necessary to support the beautiful lives we touch and discuss the values we want to preserve.  I respect the impressive labor of NHPCO as well as our State Hospice Organizations and remain committed to their mission.   Our members understand that both good and poor decisions have consequences yet our voice assures that we are prepared to advocate for the best interest of our patient’s.  I believe in providing excellent quality care with the highest level of integrity and returning to Capitol Hill each year helps to define the destiny our patients.  The Advocacy Intensive cultivates a professional hospice network designed to improve services through advocacy.  Our greatest success involves a team willing to support a platform that will enhance the well-being of the patients. This is the reason why I embrace the opportunity to visit with our U.S. Senators, Representatives and their staff to address the key issues that affect our programs.  The personal interaction allows the time to reflect our passion and validate our devotion to the hospice. I have such adoration for the many ethical colleagues who provide good hospice care and always look forward to collaborating with them in Washington, D.C.

 

This is why I encourage you to join us as we make a difference together.
Support the Advocacy Intensive as we promote a stronger VOICE for the good of Hospice.

HILL — Help  Impact Legislative Leaders — Day

An Advocacy Message from Edo Banach


Dear Advocates,

I invite your organization to participate in the 2017 Hospice Action Network Advocacy Intensive on July 17-18 in Washington, D.C. This event gives hospice programs nationwide an opportunity to stand as one community and speak with one voice on Capitol Hill – a voice for the patients and families we serve across the nation.

We face constant change and uncertainty in health care and beyond. It is crucial that we seize the opportunity to educate policy makers about hospice and palliative care. And who better to tell the stories of hospice care than the nurses, social workers, chaplains, volunteers, and the many others who provide care at the bedside every day?

The HAN Advocacy Intensive offers a comprehensive educational program for beginners and experienced advocates alike. Attendees will learn best practices to become effective hospice advocates, and how to build relationships with policy-makers over time. This is the best opportunity for the hospice community to learn the skills needed to influence the legislators and staff who are shaping the future of healthcare.

Your patients need a voice in Washington. You can be that voice.

Please join us for the 2017 Hospice Action Network Advocacy Intensive.

Best,

Edo Banach, JD
President & CEO
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act Introduced!

Earlier this month, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R, KS-2) and Congressman Mike Thompson (D, CA-5) introduced the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act (H.R. 1284). In rural and other medically under-served communities, a physician assistant (PA) may be the only healthcare professional in the community. Current Medicare rules do not allow PAs to serve as the hospice attending physician or perform other functions that are otherwise consistent with their scope of practice. Patients who receive their primary care from a PA must give up that provider when they elect hospice care. This can cause significant stress for patients at an already difficult time. H.R. 1284 would correct this problem and allow physician assistants to serve as attending physicians to hospice patients.

NHPCO supports this bipartisan legislation, and we hope you take action! Send an email to your Member of Congress and ask to cosponsor this legislation by clicking the “Take Action” button below!  A template email is provided for you, but we encourage you to personalize it for added impact!