Friday, July 13, 2018

PCHETA Call to Action!

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) passed a procedural hurdle today and was reported out from the House Energy and Commerce Committee to the full House of Representatives for its consideration. 

This means it is on its way to being scheduled for a vote! We need you to Take Action Now to request a timely scheduling of the vote, and to ask your Representative to vote YES. 

Click here to be taken to our PCHETA Action Center, where you can make a phone call, send an email, and post social media messages urging the House to act quickly to schedule and pass PCHETA.

Thank you to the many, many advocates and organizations who have worked tirelessly for years to see this legislation through the process. We are so close, won't you take a few minutes to help us over the finish line?

Thank you for your dedicated advocacy on behalf of patients and families nationwide. We really can do amazing things when we all work together. Now, let's pass PCHETA.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Be the Cheetah on the Right

I recently had the pleasure to take a bucket-list trip to South Africa with my family. Ostensibly, I was there to attend a board meeting of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance in Durban. Of course, I had to take the opportunity to travel around this magnificent country. I was humbled by the massive disparities between rich and poor in Durban and simply awestruck by the wildlife at the Cape of Good Hope and the power of the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls.

However, no moment was as impactful as the one I captured in the photograph above. The guide explained how rare it is to see a cheetah, let alone to see four gathered in one place. But what was most amazing about this moment came from what you can’t see. To the left of the adolescent cheetahs sits an airstrip. Three of the cheetahs are transfixed by an airplane and activity on the runway—much like my own kids. The cheetah on the right has her siblings’ backs, both literally and figuratively. She is not letting herself get distracted and appears acutely aware of the hungry predators lurking in the distance off camera, including a pride of lions and a female leopard.

As I study the cheetahs today, I wonder if we are at a similar inflection point in our own world. Do we clearly see the threats and opportunities?  We tend not to focus enough on the actual threats that are lurking just beyond what is easy to see and feel, but that which surrounds us and divides us. Tax status, geography, medical specialty, discipline, political persuasion—these are the distractions that the cheetahs on the left obsess over. The cheetah on the right is looking a bit further out, worried about real threats and actively planning to turn future threats into opportunities.

As I reflect on this scene, I am struck by many of the insights that Michael Burcham shared with us during his plenary presentation at April’s Management and Leadership Conference. He addressed some of the disruptors that are affecting all health care providers– many of those involving technology. Based on his experience, he shared concerns that we as a field are missing important signals that are playing out in front of us right now. For those not able to attend the last MLC, Michael’s plenary presentation, TheFuture of Healthcare, is available to the membership free-of-charge on NHPCO’s E-OL , our online learning portal.

Additionally, Michael is serving on NHPCO’s Advisory Council – a new group of experts and thought-leaders that pulls from both within and outside of our professional community. So we will continue to benefit from his knowledge and experience.

I love this picture because of what it says about life—both personally and professionally. Love each other, don’t obsess over the immediate crisis, and look a bit further out to get some perspective. In this one moment, I feel a bit more clarity about our mission here. Let the ones whose aim is not rooted in person-centered, interdisciplinary care be the cheetah on the left. Through all of our differences and challenges let us be the cheetah on the right.

By Edo Banach, JD
President and CEO
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Friday, June 29, 2018

PCHETA Mark-Up in the House of Representatives

The Palliative Care Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) was advanced by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health on June 27, 2018.
PCHETA (S. 693 and HR.1676) was first developed by NHPCO, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association and is now embraced by 53 organizations through the Patient Quality of Life Coalition.

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would provide palliative medicine training in a variety of settings, including hospice.  PCHETA will also establish a program to enable hospice and palliative physicians to train teams of interdisciplinary healthcare professionals in palliative and hospice care techniques. Additionally, PCHETA will expand the types of professionals trained to provide hospice care, including nurses and clinical social workers. Learn more about PCHETA.

As a hospice and palliative care advocate, it is imperative that you continue to call and email your Members of Congress in the Energy and Commerce Committee regarding this legislation.
PCHETA is sponsored in the Senate by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).  In the House of Representatives, Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), and Buddy Carter (R-GA) lead the bill.
  • View the current list of cosponsors – in the Senate and in the House.
NHPCO and the Hospice Action Network extend deep appreciation to the many professionals and hospice advocates that supported efforts to move this legislation forward.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

It's Virtual Hill Week: Make Your Voice Heard!

Virtual Hill Week is June 18-22, 2018, and everyone across the U.S. is encouraged to participate: hospice staff, caregivers, family members, patients, supporters, and community members.

NHPCO and its affiliate organization, the Hospice Action Network, are asking citizens to urge Congress to support access to hospice care and quality end-of-life care for all Americans.

Please set aside a few minutes this week to ask Members of Congress to cosponsor the Rural Access to Hospice Act (PDF). The Rural Access to Hospice Act would help millions of rural Americans retain their attending physician when transitioning to hospice care. Please contact Congress today and make sure your voice is heard on Capitol Hill.

Hospice Action Network has created a Virtual Hill Week website and online advocacy module that makes it simple to ensure your elected officials know of your support for quality end-of-life care. The advocacy module offers a series of communication options, including submitting an email, making a phone call, and posting on social media. NHPCO and HAN urge you to consider completing all options!

Do your part this week to advocate on behalf of patients facing serious illness and the end of life. If you have any questions, feel free to email the HAN Team at

Friday, June 15, 2018

Opioid Bills Pass in the House

On June 13, 2018, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives approved over two dozen bills that will help mitigate the impact of opioids, synthetic drugs, and other pain management medication on communities.

Important news for the U.S. hospice community is that the "Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act" (H.R. 5041) was among the many bills approved, passing unanimously with a 398-0 vote.

Currently, the Drug Enforcement Administration forbids hospice personnel from destroying unused medication unless authorized by state law. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will allow hospice personnel to assist in the disposal of unused medication following a patient’s death, helping decrease the opportunity for diversion, addiction and unintentional misuse of prescription drugs.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization strongly supported this important legislation and applauds the bill’s sponsors Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-02), and Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08) for their leadership in fighting America’s opioid crisis.

It is the understanding of the NHPCO policy team that all the bills voted on June 13 will be merged into a single bill that will be sent to the Senate for its consideration. NHPCO hopes that the legislation will be signed into law in the coming months.

Additionally, CMS issued an Opioids Road Map outlining its efforts to address this issue of national concern. In this roadmap, CMS details a three-pronged approach to combating the opioid epidemic, focusing on:
  • Prevention of new cases of opioid use disorder (OUD)
  • Treatment of patients who have already become dependent on or addicted to opioids
  • Utilization of data from across the country to target prevention and treatment activities
Read the CMS Opioid Road Map blog post published June 11.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Father's Day and #MyHospice

It’s less than one week until Father’s Day, June 17. While the connection between Father’s Day and hospice might not seem the most obvious, this can be a time to help raise awareness. Father’s Day is all about honoring those individuals who have fulfilled a paternal role in our lives – whether it be our dad, grandfather, or other special person. Father’s Day provides a wonderful opportunity for the hospice and palliative care community to share and promote stories about the compassionate, coordinated care that we provide to dads, or those who are like a dad, and families who need our support at the end-of-life.

Raising awareness of the importance of hospice care and the value of the Medicare hospice benefit is what the new My Hospice Campaign is all about. Taking the opportunity Father’s Day affords to recognize the day with a story from our community reminds people that #MyHospice is about the compassion and dignity we bring to all those we serve.

NHPCO and HAN have created several #MyHospice assets, including social media and special messaging, for you to use to honor someone on Father’s Day.

Get involved: please visit our Father's Day webpage to learn more.


Additionally, don’t forget to share with My Hospice your stories about dad or others who fill a paternal role! 
Happy Father’s Day to all those who care so much!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Catch the Early-Bird for 2018 Virtual Conference

Register by June 8 for early-bird registration rates for the 2018 Virtual Conference "Turning Points: Mastering Transitions in Care" hosted on July 18 - 19, 2018. Transitions can come in many different forms. Like a shift in care settings or a situation that requires the team to reframe and tap into new approaches or shift perspectives. This Virtual Conference will explore these important points.

Presented by three highly-regarded organizations, NHPCO, AAHPM and HPNA, the 2018 Virtual Conference is one of the most economical and convenient ways to bring high quality education to your team or your office without the expenses associated with a traditional "out of town" conference. The educational line-up for the 2018 Virtual Conference is available online - and online registration for this worthwhile event is open.

Plenary presentations that will be broadcast live from NHPCO:
  •  Opening Plenary - "Hospice: Intruder or Emissary? One Family's Experience" with Robin Romm
  • Plenary II - "De-Prescribeing: Facilitating a Key Transition Point for Patients and Families" with Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE and Shaida Talebreza, MD, FAAHPM, HMDC, AGSF
  • Plenary III - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Using Communication to Enhance Care Transitions" with Laura Shoemaker, DO, MS
  • Closing Plenary - "The Invisible Transitions Inside the Labyrinth of Caregiving" with Debbie Parker Oliver, PhD, MSW
Download the Agenda at a Glance (PDF) to see currently scheduled sessions presented over the two days of the conference.

Register online by June 8 to take advantage of early-bird registration rates!  (Of course, normal online registration rates are available after that date.)