Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Advanced Level Palliative Care Webinars for the Entire Team

The MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care has partnered with NHPCO to offer a series of interprofessional webinars that provide enhanced clinical education on an array of topics relevant to every member of the team.

Building on the success of the webinars offered by the MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care, NHPCO and MJHS Institute have co-developed a webinar series focused on palliative care provision. The series began in September 2015 and have been scheduled through 2016. View the list of webinars on the MJHS website.

Upcoming webinars include:
  • Palliative Care in Parkinson's Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases (on 11/05/15)
  • Assessment and Management of Fatigue in Medical Illness (on 12/03/15)
  • Integrative Therapies in Palliative Care: Mind-Body Therapies (on 01/07/15).
The webinars are one hour in length and offer 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, 1.0 Nursing CE credits and/or its equivalent according to discipline.

“I'm delighted to be working and collaborating with NHPCO moving forward in creating new educational resources that will advance palliative care,” said Russell Portenoy, MD, executive director of the MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care.

NHPCO Executive Vice President John Mastrojohn remarked, “As presented in the Institute of Medicine report on care of the dying, there is a need to make palliative care available to all individuals across the continuum of care. NHPCO's commitment is consistent with those recommendations and we strongly believe that palliative care is not just for those at the end of life but is beneficial to patients and families in a variety of settings. Together NHPCO and MJHS Institute will enhance access to high quality education and support the professional development for those who provide frontline care.”

Portenoy video
MJHS Executive Director Russell Portenoy, MD talks about the webinar collaboration.

Learn more and see the complete schedule. Registration opens shortly before the scheduled program date.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Special training on community-based palliative care from NHPCO and CSU Institute

A special education offering, Leading the Way to Community-Based Palliative Care Success, is being offer by the California State University Institute for Palliative Care and NHPCO on October 14, 2015. This day-long seminar is part of NHPCO's annual Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive being held in Grapevine, Texas (just outside of Dallas).

As palliative care moves into the community, who better than hospice programs to provide palliative care in their respective communities? This highly interactive workshop will ensure that providers understand what it takes to deliver palliative care, and to create a clear, defined path which leads to success.

Since its inception in 2012, the CSU Institute for Palliative Care has trained over 800 health care professionals from across the US and around the world - nurses, social workers, chaplains and allied health professionals. The Institute knows and understands workforce development. California State University trains 15% of the nation’s graduating health care workforce. The Institute's palliative care faculty includes experts in all the core palliative care disciplines. In addition to training professionals, the Institute works with organizations, teaching leaders how to build, promote and grow palliative care services.

Those interested in attending Leading the Way to Community-Based Palliative Care Success (preconference PC03) should visit the Clinical Team Conference website. Advance registration closes September 20, so register today and save.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2015 Clinical Team Conference & Pediatric Intensive - "Expanding the Mission"

NHPCO's 16th Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive will be held October 15-17, 2015 (with preconference events Oct. 13-14) in cooperation with the Texas/New Mexico Hospice Organization.

"Expanding the Mission" is the theme of this year's CTC being held at the Gaylord Texan, in Grapevine, Texas (just outside Dallas). Registration is now open.

This year's CTC will gather innovators, visionaries, dedicated practitioners and all committed to the continued development and expansion of hospice and palliative care. Whether you provide care to patients and families directly through interdisciplinary practice, manage interdisciplinary team staff, lead quality efforts or are responsible for related practices and processes, this conference will be worthwhile. All members of the hospice and palliative care team and community stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

Register before August 24, 2015 and save $100 with the early-bird registration rate. For additional information, download the conference promotional brochure (PDF).

Monday, August 3, 2015

CMS Final Rule Implements New Payment Structure for Hospice

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the FY2016 Hospice Wage Index Final Rule on Friday, July 31, 2015.  Payment reform, which includes a two-tiered routine home care (RHC) rate and a service intensity add-on payment are two major components cited in the rule which represent the first significant changes to hospice payment methodology since the Medicare hospice benefit went into effect in 1983.

NHPCO is supportive of the proposal for a new payment structure and believes that payment of a higher rate during the first 60 days of care reflects the service intensity identified by CMS and its contractors in claims data.

Payment Reform: The two-tiered payment model for RHC days will be implemented on January 1, 2016. Hospices will be paid a higher rate for the first 60 days of hospice care and a lower rate for subsequent days in hospice care.  

Service Intensity Add-On Payment:  A service intensity add-on (SIA) payment, also effective January 1, 2016, will be made for patients receiving visits conducted by an RN or social worker during the last week of life when patients and families typically have more intensive needs.

CMS will calculate and make the appropriate SIA payment based on a retrospective review, after a patient’s death, of hospice claims for the last seven days of the patient’s life. The SIA payment will be equal to the continuous home care hourly rate, multiplied by the amount of direct patient care provided by an RN or social worker for up to a total of four hours per day. 

The SIA payment applies to any hospice patient in the last seven days of life, regardless of length of stay.  For patients with a short length of stay in hospice, the SIA payment will help to mitigate the marginally higher costs associated with short lengths of stay.

In addition, the new rule will provide for a 1.6 percent rate increase for hospice providers in FY2016.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Pediatric Resource Helps Focus Attention on Children’s Unmet Needs

A new report released by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization provides insight into the care needs of young people who might benefit from pediatric palliative/hospice care.  These are children with chronic, complex and/or life-limiting conditions.

The 11-page report, “NHPCO Facts and Figures: Pediatric Palliative and Hospice Care in America,” can help hospice and palliative care providers—as well as policymakers, funders and the media—to better understand both the current challenges and the unmet needs of children and their families across the country.

Pediatric palliative/hospice care provides children and their families with high quality, compassionate, and consistent care delivered through the collaborative efforts of an interdisciplinary team. PP/HC may be provided along with concurrent disease-modifying therapy and can transition to be the main focus of care when disease-modifying therapy is no longer effective and comfort becomes a priority.
Due to the complexity of care involved, children with life-threatening conditions and complex chronic conditions are likely to benefit from PP/HC services. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the number of children with special health care needs in increasing. Overall, 15.1 percent of U.S. children ages 0 – 17 (11.2 million children) are in this category.

Download the report and access additional resources on pediatric hospice and palliative care at


Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 Circle of Life Award® Honorees

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Hospice Foundation honor the recipients of the 2015 Circle of Life Award® and Citation of Honor. Care Dimensions in Danvers, Mass. is the recipient of the prestigious Circle of Life Award for 2015. Hospice of Frederick County in Frederick, Md., has earned a Citation of Honor.

The award celebrates innovation in end-of-life care and the two programs honored this year demonstrate a commitment to providing palliative care services within the continuum of care along with outreach to traditionally underserved communities. 

“The opportunity to learn from innovators in our field benefits all organizations providing hospice and palliative care services and the Circle of Life Award is a significant way for us to spotlight those innovative providers,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO and NHF president and CEO.  “These programs, who are both NHPCO members, serve as models for us all as we move forward in our shared goal of providing the highest quality of care for all those facing serious and life-limiting illness and we applaud Care Dimensions and hospice of Frederick County.”

The awards were presented at a ceremony at the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) annual summit in San Francisco on July 24.

Since 2000, the Circle of Life Award has honored programs that demonstrate excellence and innovation in palliative and end-of-life care. Further information about the honorees and the Circle of Life Award is available at

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hospice Demonstration Sites Announced for Medicare Care Choices Model

Today, CMS announced the names of 141 organizations that will serve as demonstration sites for its Medicare Care Choice Model (MCCM). This list is available on the CMS website.

CMS originally anticipated selecting 30 Medicare-certified hospices for the project but given the overwhelming interest from the U.S. hospice community, the list of MCCM demonstration sites grew to over 140, many of which are NHPCO members. This will enable the model to provide care for up to 150,000 Medicare or dually eligible beneficiaries over the five year period.

The MCCM is an initiative developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to explore ways to improve care options for beneficiaries by allowing greater flexibility and choice “in deciding between hospice care and curative treatment, when faced with life-limiting illness.” 

With the intention of improving Medicare beneficiaries’ quality of care and patient and family satisfaction, the MCCM will provide a new option for beneficiaries with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and HIV/AIDS who meet hospice eligibility requirements under the Medicare hospice benefit, to receive palliative care services from  the hospice providers who have been chosen to participate in the model while concurrently receiving services provided by their curative care providers.

- See the complete NHPCO press release.