What My Hospice means is different to each individual and family we serve. For My Hospice Ambassadors, like Kelly Coons, it means acting as a leader in their state to support Medicare’s first coordinated care model and protect the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

My Hospice Ambassadors are hospice and palliative care professionals with an interest in advocacy who work with NHPCO to facilitate on-going outreach and relationship development with federal policymakers.

Here Ambassador Kelly Coons shares what My Hospice means to her:

Tell us a little bit about your role.

I have been the Provider Relations Manager at AseraCare Hospice for 3 years. My role consists of sales and marketing. It is up to me to educate the general population and staff about hospice and the benefits that it entails. I build relationships with people so they feel they can trust me and my team when hospice is needed. Not only do I know hospice, but I have also helped when families need to place their loved one in a facility, I help guide them through the process.

How did you first get involved with hospice?

I was working in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) and met a woman in hospice. One morning I knew I had to go check on her and when I did, I knew she was ready to go. Her two adult sons both had special needs and were not fully understanding what was happening. I got to sit beside her and the hospice home health aide (HHA) until she passed. I came home that night and told my husband “I need to do this.”

What do you like best about your job?

I love getting to know people and talking to them. I have learned that you learn far more by listening. I am the youngest child, so I had to speak up when I could just get a word in! 

What motivates your advocacy and why do you think others should get involved?

I am motivated because our culture does not want to speak or hear about hospice, so when the time comes people are unprepared. I want them to be prepared, to know about this benefit, to utilize it. I want to make the subject of hospice something people are not afraid to talk about.

What does My Hospice mean to you?

It means a great deal to me because since having my role in AseraCare, my family and friends have reached out. I have been able to help people in ways I never realized were possible without having a clinical degree. When I can be part of helping someone or a family, it fills my professional bucket.