Attending a Conference instead of Running One!

Just a quick note to all my Hospice Advocates! I am proud to represent the Hospice Action Network, and therefore all of you, at the Public Affairs Council’s Digital Media and Advocacy Summit! Those of you who attended the Social Media presentation at #HAN15 will already be familiar with the important role social media plays in influencing Members of Congress, but for the rest of you: get on social media! Twitter is the next frontier, according to Brad Fitch of the Congressional Management Foundation. Legislators watch who is tweeting at them, what they are tweeting, and what groups they are affiliated with. So those of you already doing it, keep up the good work! And for the rest of you, get those thumbs moving!

Follow me @GrassrootsDrew for updates from the conference and check out #DMAS15 to see what other attendees are saying!

A Quick Note of Thanks

As many Americans mark this weekend with barbecues and fireworks,  we are so thankful for the many of you dedicated hospice advocates that will be working this holiday weekend. What could be more patriotic than caring for your fellow Americans, many of them veterans? You represent a cross section of America: the rural workers who drive hundreds of miles to visit patients, the urban caregivers who brave traffic, subway delays, and holiday crowds to visit their diverse communities, everyone who has to skip the party and can’t take their kids to the fireworks because they are caring for their patients. You, and your families, give up a lot so that your patients can receive the care they need, when and where they need it.

Thanks to all who are traveling to patients this weekend!
Thanks to all who are traveling to patients this weekend!

So thank you, everyone who is working this weekend. Everyone who covered a shift so someone could be with their families, everyone who had to miss the fireworks. Your dedication to your fellow Americans is honorable, patriotic, and exemplary. Thank you for all you do, and have a fabulous 4th of July.

#HPM Chat 6/24, some thoughts

I participated in a great wednesday night #HPM Chat this week. For those not in the know, they’re generally run by the great folks over at Pallimed, and they cover a wide range of topics. If you’re hungry for more information on Hospice & Palliative Medicine, and you’re a social media junkie, I suggest checking them out.

The topic was loosely centered around the great Care Planning Act introduced by Sens. Isakson and Warner a few weeks ago, which has huge implications for our community, and could bring the hospice model further upstream. I had 3 big takeaways:

1) It’s really hard to talk complex policy (let alone politics) on a tweetchat. This was probably the biggest for me. When you’re following a robust tweetchat like the Wednesday night chats, there can be 15-30 folks all contributing at once. I’d answer a topic question that the moderator had asked, and find myself either drowning in the stream of tweets, or caught in a side conversation that made me feel like I was missing others:

While composing the above response, I feel like I missed a few good points from other folks. We write a lot of copy around the office, and we’re always trying to make policy more accessible (hence the whiteboards recently…). But we really haven’t found a way to distill something as complex as the Care Planning Act (which would create an entirely new Medicare Benefit for goodness sakes) into 140, 280, or even 420 characters. I’m being generous here and not subtracting the 4 characters for the hashtag.

2) Stories are king.

Now anyone who knows us here at HAN knows we’re all in on stories. Hospice stories are one of the best weapons we have in our arsenal to change hearts and minds. And we get better at telling them all the time.

3) There’s a fantastic community of passionate people here, and that’s awesome. Because I have two kids, and because I live on the east coast where the chat happens at 9 p.m., it’s hard for me to attend very often. That being said, the conversations happening there are vibrant, funny (@Skipbidder/bacon pancakes, I’m looking at you…), and interesting. Our job at HAN often involves going toe-to-toe with folks who don’t always agree with us or even have time for us. It’s invogorating to dip into a conversation with folks who care deeply about all #HPM can do.


In other news, Advocacy Intensive numbers are through the roof (~270 at most recent count), and we’ve got caregivers ready to tell stories to over 100 critically important Members of Congress. We’re gonna rock it next month, and keep checking this space to see how it’s all going.

Good night, internet.

Quick Take: King v. Burwell

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court announced that it would add a day to announce decisions this Friday, leaving today, tomorrow, and Monday as the last possible decision days of its term. Supreme Court watchers quickly tried to decipher the tea leaves. Clearly the King v. Burwell decision must be Friday or Monday, with no other decisions announced that day for all of the attention would surely drown out any other decision.

It turns out the Supreme Court proved everyone wrong. Except that the King v. Burwell did drown out the only other decision announced today. Today was the day!

So what did the Court say? The Court ruled, in a 6-3 decision, that the ACA allows federal healthcare subsidies to continue to be available to residents of states that have not set up a state health insurance exchange and enroll in a federal or federal-partnership exchange. At risk were subsidies that an estimated 6.4 million Americans have received through the federal exchange, [To get more background on the case, click here!]

What does this mean for hospice? Honestly, not much. Essentially, status quo remains. And in a time of increasing regulatory and reimbursement changes, the frenzy around the status quo is fine by me.

Big Day

So I know most of the twitter-verse and facebookland is going to be taken up today by the big news out of the Supreme Court, and don’t worry, HAN will have some news, and even more for NHPCO Members, but as Lauren said last night, things are cookin’ here for us as well. We just finished a walk-through of the hotel where the #HAN15 Intensive will be happening, and we’re officially in logistics go-mode.

Your team, discussing logistics. Or what to have for lunch.

I love going to scope out the hotel every year before attendees are onsite- it makes it ‘real’ for me. One of the things we love about the Intensive is that every year, it’s got a huge percentage of folks who are first-time attendees. We love seeing them arrive nervous and full of questions, and leave two days later as seasoned Capitol Hill pros. It’s invigorating to see the change.

Anyway, we’re working out all the details for the Advocacy Intensive now, and we’re excited to see everyone onsite.

Obamacare Supreme Court hot-takes coming later in the day today.

Later today I’ll try to do a re-cap of last night’s #HPM chat on the Care Planning Act. It was a good convo.