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.


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! 


Seema Verma Goes to Washington

Seema Verma, the designee for Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), appeared before the Senate Finance Committee yesterday for her confirmation hearing (watch HAN’s What to Expect in 2017 video for more information about Verma!). Like most confirmation hearings, topics were wide-ranging, from electronic health records, Medicare Advantage, to rural and critical access hospital issues.

Verma’s answers, as is the case for most nominees during confirmation hearings, were somewhat vague. Nominees do not want to be pinned to specific policy options until they can find their new offices. It was clear that the contractor who engineered Healthy Indiana 2.0, Indiana’s Medicaid expansion plan, was more comfortable discussing Medicaid topics than Medicare. Several Medicare policy areas she did speak strongly about were preventing fraud and abusing being a “top priority” for the Medicare program, that she does not support turning Medicare into a voucher program, and including rural providers in the development of policies and regulations. Throughout the hearing, Verma repeated several themes that define her philosophy of healthcare policy that would carry over to her role leading CMS:

“Patients and their doctors should be making decisions about their health care, not the federal government.”

“I will work with the CMS team to ensure that the programs are focused on achieving positive outcomes and to improve the health of the people we serve.”

“I will work toward policies that foster patient-centered care approaches that increase competition, quality, and access while driving down costs.”

We’ll keep you posted on Verma’s progress through her nomination!

Your Latest Hospice News Update is Ready!


Happy National Hospice and Palliative Care Month! We are happy to kick off a month-long awareness campaign about hospice and palliative care with our monthly news update!

For additional resources, shareable content, and more, check out NHPCO’s National Hospice and Palliative Care Month page! Don’t forget to share the link to the Know Your Options Tool and share the newest Moments of Life Video, Lyle’s Hawaiian Dream. 

News from the Hill:

Hospice Advocates Stave Off MA Carve-In, For Now

Regulatory Update:

  1. 1. NHPCO Meets with CMS to talk NOE/NOTR
  2. NHPCO Podcast: OIG Report on Election Statements and Certification
  3. NHPCO Podcast: The Non-Discrimmination in Health Programs Final Rule
  4. 4. New CMS Data Visualization Tool Available

Advocacy Shout-Out:

Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice hosts Congressman Donald Norcross for a sneak peak of their new Samaritan Center at Voorhees

Good Reads:

  1. French Hospital Adds Wine Bar for Terminally Ill Patients
  2. A Dance for Gloria
  3. The Role of Nurse Practitioners in POLST Form Completion
  4. Facts About Hospice Care (A great article to share for #HospiceMonth!)
  5. Home Based Palliative Care Better, Less Costly than Hospitalization (Another good share for #HospiceMonth!)

A Look Ahead:

  1. Join us Friday, November 4 for Social Media Day! 
  2. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8
  3. Veterans Day is November 11. Make sure you invite your Members of Congress to any Veterans Day or National Hospice and Palliative Care Month Activities!
  4. National Rural Health Day is Novemeber 17. This is a great day to share stories about providing care in rural areas!

We Honor Veterans is now on Twitter @WeHonorVeterans. Follow them to learn more about the great work their partners do for our Veterans!

Shout out to everyone attending the NHPCO Intensives down in Florida! Thank you to Ron Culberson and BJ Miller for providing our keynote addresses. You can follow along on social media using #Intensives16.

Don’t forget to join the #hpm community each Wednesday night at 9pm ET/6pm PT to chat about all things hospice, palliative, end-of-life, etc! Patients, families, clinical staff, friends, supporters, curious onlookers all welcome! Just use #hpm on Twitter to join the conversation!

We hope you have a lovely National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, and please let us know about any events or initiatives you have going on this month! Make sure to use #HospiceMonth, #HospiceAwareness and #hpm on your Facebook and Twitter posts! And as always, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and on our blog!

Fall into the latest Hospice and Palliative Care News Update!


Fall is well underway here in DC, so that means it is time for your monthly Hospice Action Network hospice and palliative care news update!


News from Congress:

House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight Holds Hearing on Health Care Fraud Investigations

PCHETA gets a hearing in Congress

National Voter Registration Day was September 27. Learn more about registering to vote here!

The HAN Advocacy Toolkit has everything you need to connect with your Memeber of Congress


OIG Report on Election Statements and Certifications of Terminal Illness


CMS Update:

NHPCO Staff Meet with CMS to discuss NOE/NOTR

CMS Releases FY 2017 Medicaid Rates

CMS Issues Final Rule on Emergency Preparedness


Coming Down the Pike:

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is Saturday, October 8

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Veterans Day is November 11. Learn how to involve a Member of Congress in your We Honor Veterans Ceremony

TO JOEY, WITH LOVE has an additional showing, October 6

The deadline to complete administration of STAR is December 15

Pastoral Care Week is Oct. 16-22. Take a moment to thank the spiritual caregivers in your life!


REMINDER: NHPCO Intensives Conference is October 31- November 2. Learn more and register today! The deadline for online registration is Friday, October 7.


Good Reads:

Gone Fishin’: Hospice Staff Help Veteran Catch Last Fish

Preparing for Death Can Change Your Life: The Friends and Family Letter Project

Hospice Deaths are Increasing, and That’s a Good Thing

Getting to Yes: Overcoming Barriers to Hospice

When Families Don’t Bury the Hatchet: Mediation in Hospice

Most Hospital Palliative Care Prorgams are Understaffed


Advocacy Shoutout:

Hospice Advocacy is alive and well in the Garden State


Also, a big THANK YOU to all our advocates who took the time to personally email their Members of Congress and ask for their support of our legislative priorities. While the House is currently out of session, the Senate is still in session this week if you would like to email your Senators! Learn more here.


Congress will be hanging out in their home districts for the rest of October, so make sure you get out and see your Members of Congress while they are local! Check their websites for information on town halls, visiting hours, and more!


Thanks again for all you do, and as always, keep in touch via email, Facebook, and Twitter!