From Left to Right: NHPCO Chief Advocacy Officer Hannah Yang Moore, Delaware Hospice President & CEO Susan Lloyd, and NHPCO President & CEO Edo Banach at W&M Hearing

Despite all the hustle and bustle around the impeachment hearings, last Thursday, November 14, Congress took time to conduct a hearing on Caring for Aging Americans. An issue that is undoubtedly nonpartisan and far less controversial, but one that is being discussed more and more often as America’s baby boomer population ages and caregivers are left without the tools and financial resources to care for their loved ones.

Among the 6 healthcare professionals invited to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee was NHPCO CEO and President, Edo Banach. Mr. Banach discussed current hospice legislation such as the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) and the Rural Access to Hospice Act as well as issues outlined in the July 2019 Office of the Inspector General Reports.

Hospice is not, and should not be, a partisan issue. We all get sick at some point in our lives, and eventually we will all die. For many people, hospice provides the right level of care at the right time for the patient and family at the end of life… We have a moral and fiscal imperative to do better than we are currently doing for our seniors who are seriously ill…” Edo Banach stressed during his testimony.

Further, several representatives expressed their appreciation for hospice and palliative care and emphasized the need for greater access to care.

I do want to reflect briefly on hospice care and salute to every single hospice worker in America for walking alongside families during difficult journeys but celebrating life along the way. ” said Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE)

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) emphasized the issue of provider shortages “I like to talk a little bit about hospice… the one problem that keeps coning up is workforce shortages… the problem is particularly acute in the rural parts of my district and I’m assuming that is the same across the country…” Mr. Edo eloquently responded reiterating the need for passage of PCHETA in the Senate and examination of payment for hospice providers.

Well known hospice champion Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) touched on the value of end-of-life care conversations. “I’m so glad to see Mr. Banach here, to discuss the issue of hospice and palliative care in America and how that fits into the delivery of healthcare for our seniors… but the other part is that we end up having these conversations too late. We need to have it much earlier. This is about choice.” Congressman Reed also expressed the need for a seriously ill benefit that proceeds hospice, which has been an ongoing discussion in the hospice and palliative care community for years.

For a shortened recap of the Ways & Means Committee Hearing on , check out the video below and read NHPCO’s Press Release: