Friday, March 16, 2018

Leadership and Advocacy Come Together

This April 2018 two premiere events are coming together that unites the NHPCO Management and Leadership Conference and the HAN Advocacy Intensive.

As palliative care and hospice leaders and managers, it’s important to recognize that 2018 will continue to be a pivotal time for the future of hospice and palliative care, as well as healthcare in general. It is critical that members and partners of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization - as well as the broader U.S. hospice and palliative care community - be active participants in charting the future course.

To meet this need, NHPCO and its affiliate organization the Hospice Action Network has made a change to the annual Management and Leadership Conference and the Advocacy Intensive, bringing the two events together, April 23-25 in Washington, DC, at the Washington Hilton Hotel. 

On April 23 and 24, hospice and palliative care leaders will take advantage of educational offerings focused on timely topics and new approaches to successful leadership and program management. More than 60 concurrent sessions and numerous networking opportunities are part of the three day conference experience.

On Wednesday, April 25, the focus shifts to advocacy, starting off with a morning plenary and concurrent sessions at the Washington Hilton Hotel and moving in the afternoon to Capitol Hill for participants to meet their legislators. The three days will be capped off with a Congressional Reception at the historic Russell Senate Office Building adjacent to the Capitol.

An array of preconference offerings, that include the Hospice Manager Development Program’s Foundational Course, are being offered on April 21 and 22 that may be taken alone or as part of the full conference experience. Adding to the excitement of the conference is the National Hospice Foundation’s Gala hosted at the hotel on April 24 (please note, separate Gala tickets are required).

Visit the NHPCO conference website for more information. Online registration is available through April 2. Onsite registration will begin at the Washington Hilton on April 21. An additional participation form is necessary for those who wish to attend meetings on Capitol Hill.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Mindful Leader: Thrive In Just Minutes A Day

By Heather Stang, MA

There is no doubt that our work in the hospice and palliative care industry contributes to the greater good. But when we feel rushed, overwhelmed, and driven to distraction, it is easy to lose touch with our passion for care. And while on-the-job stress is common in any industry, those of us who dedicate our lives to serving others are particularly susceptible to stress overload and compassion fatigue.

If you are a hospice and palliative care leader caught in this downward spiral, you know how hard it can be to make clear, creative and wise decisions on the fly. You may even find it harder and harder to treat yourself and others with heartfelt compassion. Left unchecked, this distress can lead to mistakes, burnout, and even a stress-related illness, but the good news is that there a way to help yourself get unstuck, or better yet, prevent this scenario from unfolding in the first place.

One way to reduce stress, improve your health and cultivate leadership excellence at the same time is mindfulness. Mindfulness is more than navel gazing on a cushion, I like to think of it as the right kind of mind control. Far from a passive activity, cultivating mindfulness requires focusing and refocusing your attention on what is arising in the present moment while maintaining an attitude of heartfelt objectivity.

You have likely heard of the wide range of health benefits in brief mindfulness interventions, including reducing anxiety and migraine headaches, improved immune functioning, and even decreased psoriatic lesions. But what you may not know is that there is a growing body of evidence supporting that mindfulness has a positive impact on leadership.

And aren’t we all leaders? Whether your job title states it or not, you influence a wide range of human beings, not the least of which is yourself!

I hope you will attend The Mindful Leader: Thrive in Just Minutes a Day, the pre-conference workshop offered at the 2018 Management and Leadership Conference that will show you how to be the best leader you can be. We will review the principles of mindfulness, survey the current research, and even test-drive several key meditation techniques so you can only cultivate self-care – which is important – but experience how mindfulness can help you become a better leader and develop the Four Foundations of Leadership Excellence.

You can even start your MLC days off right and deepen your mindfulness training by joining me for morning meditation from 6:45 -7:45 am on Monday and Tuesday. Monday you will experience Mindfulness Meditation for Resilience and Self Care, and Tuesday we will learn how to Overcome Work/Life Challenges using meditation. This is open to all MLC attendees, whether you attend The Mindful Leader pre-conference session or not.

There is still time to register for The Mindful Leader on Sunday, April 22nd.  I can’t wait to share these Mindfulness & Leadership tools with you!

Monday, March 5, 2018

50th Issue of Pediatric E-Journal Now Available

“Celebrating the Past and the Future of Pediatric Palliative/Hospice Care," is the theme for the landmark 50th Issue of the ChiPPS pediatric palliative hospice care e-journal from NHPCO’s Children’s Project for Palliative/Hospice Services.

In his article acknowledging the work done on behalf of pediatric palliative and hospice care, NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach writes in part:

I am proud to share the 50th edition of the ChiPPS e-journal with the field and I extend my deepest appreciation to the many people who make each edition possible. Over the past several years, we have featured hundreds of articles by dozens of experts and thought-leaders from the pediatric palliative and hospice care field. We have also included contributions from family members who have faced the overwhelming loss of a beloved child. And members of our ChiPPS Communication Workgroup have given of their time, talent and insight to make the e-journal a valuable resource offered free-of-charge to anyone interested in this important area.

For those of you reading this article in the ChiPPS e-journal, there is no need for me to tell you how essential it is to have members of the IDT skilled in caring for the unique needs of young people facing serious and life-limiting illness and being able to appropriately care for grieving families. The death of a child is surely one of the great challenges that those in our field face; yet, it is a reality that young people do die and over the years, NHPCO has done its best to provide resources, education, and opportunities to advocate on behalf of pediatric care.

Our Children’s Project on Palliative/Hospice Services began with a two-day meeting in Dallas in November 1998. So as we celebrate this milestone edition of the e-journal, we are just about to mark the 20th anniversary of ChiPPS. 

Since 1998, the accomplishments of ChiPPS have played a vital role in shaping the entire national pediatric palliative care and hospice field and the written word has been a significant part of these efforts. 

Download the 50th issue of the Pediatric E-journal (73-page PDF), or read the issue online.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Gala 2018: Honoring Hospice Innovators

All of us at NHPCO and NHF are gearing up for the 2018 Management and Leadership Conference and Advocacy Intensive. That means we are in the midst of planning the annual National Hospice Foundation Gala, held on Tuesday, April 24.

The theme of this year’s gala is Honoring the Innovators of Hospice.*  Our celebration will honor innovators that made the Medicare Hospice Benefit a reality, cared for HIV/AIDS patients, and brought national attention to quality of life at the end of life.

We are at another critical moment where we need to move hospice and advanced illness care to the forefront of the healthcare discussion. And to do so requires innovative ideas, and innovative people behind those ideas.

Event highlights will be the silent and exciting live auction that will feature unique items and packages you won’t want to miss.  In addition, there will be a special appeal for the Disaster Relief Fund. Musical entertainment from talented cellist, Benjamin Gates, and a live funk with soul band will get you out of your seat and on the dance floor.

Gala sponsorships are available at every level of support and individual tickets are $250. Dress to impress in your best formal attire.

For more information about how to purchase tickets, become a sponsor, donate an auction item, or Honor a Hospice Innovator*, contact Joy Nguyen at, 703-647-5167, or visit

*Honoring the Innovators of Hospice
NHF wants to showcase these innovators at the gala through stories printed on keepsake postcards at every attendee’s seat. An investment of $1,000 will enable you to share their story with NHF and the hospice community.  This is the opportunity to honor an outstanding healthcare professional and/or individual innovator.

Joy Nguyen, CFRE
Director, Events and Major Giving
National Hospice Foundation

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Competitive Advantage of Certified Hospice Physicians

More and more hospices are seeing the competitive advantage that having certified hospice physicians can provide. In fact, there are hospices who are now supporting 100% physician certification. One of those is Agapé Hospice in South Carolina, which made the decision in 2017 to do so.

According to Chief Operating Officer, DeeDee Henderson, “We believe in supporting our physicians with programs recognized with best practices and clinical & administrative expertise in end-of-life care. Having certified hospice physicians further demonstrates to our patients, families and communities our commitment to quality.”

Henderson is encouraging her hospice physicians and medical directors to participate in the certification program through the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board (HMDCB), a program which has certified more than 800 physicians, at least one from all 50 states, since its first exam in 2014. Henderson said, “We are excited about the partnership with HMDCB to drive continuous improvement and professionalism.”

So what is the value of having HMDCB-certified physician leaders in your hospice?

Enhanced Partnership – A physician who has achieved the HMDC credential is an effective partner in the administrative, regulatory, and compliance issues that you regularly face in your role as CEO or administrator, helping you to mitigate the risks inherent in running your hospice. Having a highly informed and knowledgeable lead physician, and creating an effective partnership between the CEO and HMD, is a recipe for success in today’s hospice environment.

Marketability – By employing HMDCs and supporting their efforts to earn the credential, you increase your competitive advantage. Patients and families can be comforted knowing you are investing in physicians who have chosen to differentiate themselves from their peers, and in today’s competitive hospice environment, there is an opportunity for your hospice to showcase this value as you market your services.

Clinical Leadership – Heightened regulatory attention requires that hospices invest in ongoing training and education for their medical staff to be effective leaders. HMDCB-certified physicians have been tested specifically on medical leadership and communication, providing them with a verifiable assessment of their ability to be an effective leader of your hospice’s IDG.

Compliance – HMDC credential holders have reaffirmed and enhanced their knowledge in both clinical and nonclinical topics important to ensuring hospices provide high quality care and meet compliance requirements. Topics tested include not only clinical topics, but also medical leadership and communication, professionalism, and systems-based practice. Take a look at HMDCB’s Content Blueprint to get a full picture of the areas tested. 

The 2018 application cycle for the HMDCB exam is now open through March 27. If physicians apply prior to March 6, they will save $250 on their application fee. Learn more about HMDCB and get questions answered by visiting

Don’t delay – encourage your physicians to apply today

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Calling all programs interested in providing community-based palliative care!

NHPCO is investing in tools and resources to support community-based palliative care program development, implementation, and sustainability.  

We have several resources available under the Palliative Care tab on our website. We also have the “Find a Provider map accessible from the home page using the drop down to switch the search to Palliative Care Provider. Please make sure we have up to date information on your program(s), especially hospice members that have added palliative care programs in recent years. You need to “get on the map!”

Our 2018 Management and Leadership Conference preconference offering, Community-Based Palliative Care:Getting Started and Making it Work (April 21 & 22), is an excellent place to start for programs that are exploring program development, are early in their program implementation, or are struggling with sustainability. The last two palliative care preconference events had an average session rating of 4.8 (out of a 5 point scale, with 5 being the highest rating).  Here are some comments from participants: “I will update my strategic plan with this new information” and “This information directly impacts the trajectory of our palliative service line.”

There is still time to register for the Community-Based Palliative Care Preconference at MLC! (Learn more about April's MLC & Advocacy Intensive.)

Next steps include reactivating the Palliative Care Council. Dr. Balu Natarajan, Chief Medical Officer for Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care and NHPCO Board member, will serve as our Council Chair. The Council will identify exemplary programs to be practice examples for our Palliative Care Toolkits. That is right, we heard you! We know you are asking for practical tools to help you develop, implement, and sustain community-based palliative care programs. We also know you have limited dollars to dedicate to association memberships, so let us fill this need for you by being your one-stop shop for hospice and palliative/advanced care resources. The Council will also explore ways NHPCO can support data collection so our palliative programs can demonstrate value to their various stakeholders, including consumers, health systems, health plans (payers), board of directors, legislators, etc.

Thank you for your patience. We know NHPCO has some catching up to do to meet your palliative care needs. That is why I am here. My background is strong in the clinical and administrative operations of hospice and innovative palliative care programs in both rural and urban settings. I am passionate about moving the hospice model upstream without sacrificing the value and timely connection of patients to traditional hospice services. So please help me, help you. Reach out to me and share your dreams, aspirations and pain points about developing, implementing, and sustaining a palliative or advanced care program. We want to highlight programs that are being successful with palliative and advanced care programs. Let’s start some synergy between those that are being successful within our membership and those that are striving to get there. We are the experts in community-based holistic person-centered care for seriously ill individuals and their families.  We got this!

 Lori Bishop, MHA, BSN, RN, CHPN
Vice President of Palliative & Advanced Care
National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thoughts on the Tragedy in Florida

We have enough grief and loss without inflicting it upon ourselves.  We are heartbroken by the school shooting in Florida, as we were heartbroken by the shooting in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, and beyond. I am sorry to those who feel that it is not our issue, and not my role. As a leader, a father, a husband, and a human being, I feel compelled to write every time we witness these tragedies.  I wrote the following thoughts after the Las Vegas shooting, and I share them again today—

“As hospice professionals, we know that grief and loss are a part of life. But there is enough grief and loss. There is simply no place in a civilized society for the blatant disregard for human dignity that we saw in [Florida]. Let us also remember that 100 people die from gun violence every single day—in America’s cities, of suicide, and sometimes in mass shootings. This has to stop. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. America needs grief counseling, to be sure, and we’ll be called upon to provide it. But let’s recommit ourselves to making sure that we do more than that. Whatever our political leanings and religious beliefs, I think we can all agree that innocent folks should not be killed. In the coming months, I’m going to be talking more about how hospice and palliative care professionals can be leaders in helping America cope with its many challenges."

Thank you for the work that you do every day. 


Edo Banach, JD
President and CEO