Rory Feek & Dr. Atul Gawande Team Up for “Being Mortal” Event on Capitol Hill

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BIG NEWS! NHPCO is proud to announce a Congressional screening and panel discussion of the PBS Frontline documentary Being Mortal, featuring the author, Dr. Atul Gawande, musician Rory Feek, husband of the late Joey Feek, and Patrick Conway, MD, CMS Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality and CMS Chief Medical Officer.

The event will also feature remarks by US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Congressman Phil Roe, MD (R-TN) on how we, as a nation, can provide better care for individuals with serious, potentially life-limiting illness.

Where: 106 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

When:  Wednesday, June 22nd, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (screening begins promptly at 6:15)

You can view the official announcement here. We are so grateful for our panelists and speakers, and are looking forward to a great event!

This screening, hosted by NHPCO, is made possible by a grant from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America.

NHPCO Sends CMS Recommendations on NOE/NOTR

Earlier this month, NHPCO sent CMS officials a letter addressing issues surrounding Notice of Election (NOE) and Notice of Termination/Revocation (NOTR). This letter, drafted by the NHPCO Regulatory Committee’s NOE/NOTR Work Group, follows up on conversations between CMS and NHPCO staff and makes recommendations for addressing the following:

  1. Keying Errors
  2. Admission Date Corrections
  3. Wrong Diagnosis or Attending Physician
  4. Sequential Billing
  5. Establishing Benefit Period
  6. “Dark Days”

For background, when a patient elects the Medicare Hospice Benefit, the hospice must file an NOE with its Medicare contractor within 5 calendar days after the effective date. The Fiscal Year 2015 Hospice Wage Index Final Rule states that when a hospice does not file the NOE for its Medicare patients within 5 calendar days after the effective date of election, Medicare will not cover and pay for days of hospice care from the effective date of election to the date of filing of the notice of election. This policy has resulted in numerous cases of simple typographical errors or incorrect information delaying the completion and acceptance of an accurate NOE beyond the 5 day window. If the NOE is accepted after the 5 day window has passed, the hospice is not paid for the care the patient received prior to acceptance of the NOE.

Hospice care is still provided to hospice enrollees even while NOEs are returned to the provider and resubmitted. NHPCO’s letter notes, however, that “no other provider type is so severely penalized for minor administrative errors or due to Medicare system limitations. They are simply allowed to correct their claims and rebill them.”



NHPCO has been listening to members who have repeatedly experienced these problems, and are actively working with CMS to address them and remove this administrative burden. NHPCO continues to engage with CMS on this topic, and encourage you all to keep us informed of any problems you are experiencing in this area.

NHPCO members can read the complete letter to CMS here. Questions about this issue? Email

The President’s Budget: FY17 Edition

It’s that time of year again that the Beltway crowd loves to hate: the unveiling of the President’s budget for the next fiscal year.

So what does that exactly mean? Well, on Tuesday, February 9, President Obama released hbudget_coveris budget proposal for fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017). The President’s budget outlines the President’s policy priorities, federal spending targets, and proposed tax revenues for not only the upcoming fiscal year but for a 10-year budget period. It is important to note that the President’s budget is not a law or even a piece of legislation. It is a simply a non-binding statement that identifies policy and funding priorities for the Administration.

The proposal includes several provisions that, if enacted, would significantly affect hospices. You can read about them here. While these proposals may not ultimately become law, they will be studied by Congressional staff and could emerge in future legislative initiatives. The Hospice Action Network and National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization will be monitoring Congressional and regulatory activity for developments on these and any future proposals, and will work to protect and promote hospice programs and the patients they serve.


January Wrap Up: What did you miss?

Between payment reform going into effect January 1, the Medicare Advantage Carve-In Proposal, and shoveling two feet of snow off of our sidewalks, 2016 is off to a busy start for the HAN team! If your month has been anything like ours, you probably didn’t have time to catch all the goings-on in Washington. We’ve collected the best bits of information here in one place to keep you updated:

Hospice/MA Carve-In Campaign:
Of course the big push for us this month was fighting the Senate Chronic Care Working Group’s proposal to carve hospice into the Medicare Advantage program. Find out how that went with these snapshots:

  1. Take Action Now on Behalf of Hospice!
  2. All States Being Equal, Utah, Oregon, Virginia and Georgia are the Best
  3. CCWG Recap!
  4. 10,000+ Emails. Now What?

Save the Date: The 2016 Advocacy Intensive will be held July 18-19th in Washington, DC!



Registration will open in April, so starting thinking now about coming to see us in Washington, DC! For more information, click here.

Advocacy Shout-out:

  1. Metropolitan Jewish Health System (MJHS) hosted Representative Joseph Crowley at the Muriel and Harold Block Residence in New York City, NY on 1/20/16.
  2. Delaware Hospice hosted Senator Chris Coons at the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford, DE  on 12/23/15.
  3. Do you want to be featured here? Learn how to host a Member of Congress, and then make sure you tell us about it!

Oh Captain, My Captain: Tony’s Departure

HAN, Working for You:

  1. We live-tweeted President Obama’s State of the Union Address
  2. We invited advocates to attend a CMF Webinar with Brad Fitch about how to prepare for advocacy meetings with legislators in Washington, DC. Want to be alerted of the next free webinar offering? Email me, and I will add you to the list!

What the What? “Hospice” movie pits bad grandson against ex-military commando caregiver. Sounds….interesting?
Good Reads: Here are some tidbits from around the web that we found interesting this month:

  1. KALW Dying to Talk Radio
  2. We Can be Heroes, Or, How to Die like David Bowie
  3. NHPCO’s Moments of Life, Made Possible by Hospice Campaign up for Prestigious Award

On the Horizon: With one month under the new payment system under our belt, we’re starting to hear from the field about potential glitches.  Rest assured, your trusty NHPCO regulatory team is on it, and will be working with CMS and the MACs to ensure a smooth transition.

Don’t forget to check out the Wednesday night #hpm tweet chats (9pm EST/6pm PST), and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates and news from and for the hospice and palliative care communities!

If you have any questions, concerns, comments, etc., you can always reach me, Karen, and Sharon at!

Thank you all for the hard work you do day in and day out for hospice patients and families around the country.

Four Problems Facing Palliative Care

In advance of our #HPM Tweetchat this Wednesday (12/2, at 9pm EST/ 6pm PST), NHPCO’s Director of Palliative Care Judith Skretny has posited these four points of conflict in the current state of palliative care. Do you agree that these problems exist? Have you experienced them? How would you address these concerns?

  1. There is a small but growing movement to discontinue using the term ‘palliative’ and substitute ‘comfort’ or something similar. Would this name change dilute the efforts of those of us working in the field?
  2. “If you’ve seen one palliative care program, you’ve seen one palliative care program.” Quality and uniformity of care are two main  concerns as programs expand into the community. What performance measures will serve the transition from hospital to community?
  3. Advance care planning, palliative care, and hospice are all part of the continuum of care.  Unfortunately, physician resistance remains a problem in all three areas. How can we help ease the resistance?
  4. As palliative care expands into the community, how will we educate the public about the nature of palliative care and how to access services?

#HPMJoin us Wednesday, December 2 at 9pm EST/6pm PST to discuss these topics and more in a wide-ranging tweetchat about the current state and future of palliative care.

Don’t have Twitter? Signing up is easy! Click here, and fill out your profile and create your username. Then follow us at @HospiceAction and @NHPCO_News to get the latest information and to join us in the #HPM Tweetchat on Wednesday!

Have more questions? Let us know!