Tuesday, January 16, 2018

NHPCO and NAHC Collaborate

NHPCO and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice are joining forces to bring the provider community an important new Webinar. 

February 21, 2018; 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET
Online registration is now open.

Do you understand your risk areas? Are you prepared for review?

Don't find your organization in the headlines. Hear from top legal experts in this Webinar collaboration between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. Understand fraud and abuse, the audit process, steps to prevent allegations of fraud and abuse and response to audits if they occur. Lessons learned from providers that have experienced audits will be shared. 

Most importantly, guidance on how to prepare for additional scrutiny and audits and what actions responsible leaders should take will be discussed in detail.

Facilitated by: 

•    Edo Banach, President and CEO, NHPCO
•    Jason Bring, Partner, Arnall Golden Gregory, LLC
•    Bill Dombi, President, NAHC
•    Howard Young, Partner, Morgan Lewis & Bockius

CE/CME credit available at no charge for Compliance Officers, Nurses and Physicians.

*This Webinar is not part of NHPCO's Webinar Packages. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Welcoming New Board Members in 2018

NHPCO is proud to welcome four new individuals to the organization’s Board of Directors. Joining the NHPCO board for three year terms are:
  • Samira Beckwith, ACSW, LCSW, FACHE, President and CEO, Hope Hospice and Community Services, Fort Myers, Florida 
  • Sandy Kuhlman, BSN, Executive Director, Hospice Services, Inc., Phillipsburg, Kansas
  • Balu Natarajan, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care, Rosemont, Illinois
  •  Stacie Pinderhughes, MD, Medical Director, Optumcare, Complex Care Management, Phoenix, Arizona
Jan Jones, of The Elizabeth Hospice, continues in her second year as board-chair. Joining Jones on the board’s executive committee are Gregory Wood, vice-chair, of Hospice of the Ozarks; Regina Bodnar, secretary, of Carroll Hospice; David Williams, treasurer, of VITAS Healthcare; and Edo Banach, NHPCO president and CEO. Additional members of the executive committee are Suzi Johnson of Sharp HospiceCare, Rafael Sciullo of Empath Health/Suncoast Hospice, and Norman McRae of Caris HealthCare, LP.

“NHPCO thanks all the new and existing board members for their dedicated service on behalf of our nation’s hospice and palliative care provider community as well as the millions of patients and family caregivers that benefit from the care that our diverse membership provides. Board members come from programs that vary in size and structure, serve urban and rural areas, and represent single-site and multi-state providers. We all share a common goal to advance interdisciplinary, person-centered care to all those with or at risk of serious illness,” said Edo Banach, president and CEO of NHPCO. 

NHPCO extends special thanks to the board members who concluded service in 2017: Linda Todd, Kenneth Zeri, SueAnn Reynolds, and Lori Bishop.

A list of NHPCO’s full board of directors is available in the “About NHPCO” section of the organization’s website. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

NHPCO Meets with CMS Administrator Seema Verma

Written by Judi Lund Person, Vice President, Regulatory and Compliance

On Wednesday, December 13, NHPCO’s President and CEO Edo Banach and I attended a productive meeting with CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Hospice Action Network board members Mark Murray, a hospice provider in South Bend, Indiana in Seema Verma’s home state, and Angie Sells, from AseraCare, a multi-state hospice provider attended the meeting as well and eloquently represented the hospice provider voice. The planned agenda for our meeting with Administrator Verma included a quick review on facts about hospice, our response to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) request for information and progress on the Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM), the impact on hospice when Medicaid managed care is in place, and concerns related to  Hospice Compare.

Pictured at the NHPCO office pre-meeting are NHPCO Vice President of Regulatory and Compliance Judi Lund Person, AseraCare President Angie Sells, NHPCO President & CEO Edo Banach, and Center for Hospice Care President & CEO Mark Murray.

On Wednesday afternoon, we made our way to the Hubert Humphrey building in downtown DC to meet with Administrator Verma.  She was joined by five members of the CMS staff, representing both the Center for Medicare and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.  We began with a few quick data facts about hospice but quickly moved to a robust discussion about innovation, where we shared why the hospice and palliative care patient-centered approach is exactly in line with the Administrator’s goals for patient-centered care.  Verma was particularly interested in how hospices can be involved with patients earlier in their disease process, and we discussed the need for care navigation and coordination and how hospices are already involved in that process.

The meeting with Administrator Verma (center) was productive and informative.

We also had a discussion about the MCCM and talked about some of the limitations of the model, as well as what the learning has been.  We commented that the supportive services offered in the MCCM model are exactly what many patients need before they elect hospice.  Our hope is to build on that learning as we consider additional models.     

It was clear from our discussions that innovation is a high priority issue for the Administrator.  Our visit highlighted the skills and experiences of hospice providers to participate in models for seriously ill patients and develop new models to ensure that patients and their families have the care and supportive services they need.  We agreed to continue our discussions with Administrator Verma and CMS staff at the meeting. It was a productive and useful meeting, and we look forward to continuing to build upon the strong working relationship between NHPCO and CMS. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

How to keep #HospiceMonth alive all year long

National Hospice and Palliative Care month may be over, but the momentum generated from this year’s #HospiceMonth doesn’t have to end. All month long, the hospice and palliative care community has championed #HospiceAwareness embracing this year’s hospice month theme “It’s about how you live.” This celebration of hospice care was made “sharable” on several social media platforms and has created quite a ripple. This stream of information has encouraged people to learn more about the services provided by hospice and palliative care and for those who are unaware of the hospice philosophy to gain valuable understanding that may one day make an impact in their own lives.

Throughout the month of November, NHPCO shared posts intended to encourage everyone to learn more about the many benefits of hospice and palliative care fostering a deeper understanding of what it means to live despite facing a serious or life-limiting illness. We know many of you took part in this #HospiceMonth messaging and that you continue to spread awareness and understanding with your own creative content throughout the year. Your efforts make a difference and we thank you

I don’t know what Dame Cicely Saunders would have thought of Facebook, but for a woman who stopped at nothing to spread the philosophy of hospice and who found unprecedented means to open the first hospice, St. Christopher’s Hospice to the UK (celebrating its 50th anniversary this year), I can only imagine Cicely Saunders would be delighted to see the pictures and information that has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just to name a few. 

Social media has a reach in every city, state, and country in our world and we encourage you to keep the hashtags #Hospice, #PalliativeCare, #hpm in your posts. Here are a few tips that could also be  of help when creating shareable content for hospice and palliative care throughout the year:

  • Concentrate on Increasing Daily Posts and Updates
    -  Ensuring that your posts and updates have a good chance to be seen by your target audience is an integral part of a content strategy.
  • Share Content More Than Once
  • Gain more traffic, reaching people in different time zones and sharing content with people who’ve followed you since your last post. 
  • Keep an eye on NHPCO’s Caringinfo.org and MomentsOfLife.org for resources added throughout the year. 
  • Create Google alerts for “hospice” and “palliative care.”
    -  Share news stories about the community that would be of interest to your followers.
We thank you for taking part in #HospiceMonth and for raising #HospiceAwareness. We hope you continue to add to the ‘wave’ you have created on social media!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

David Brooks to Kick off 2018 MLC

The annual NHPCO Management and Leadership Conference will be April 23-24 with the Advocacy Intensive on April 25, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Noted journalist David Brooks keynote presentation, "The US Healthcare Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities" on Monday, April 23, will focus on ways that hospice and palliative care can play a role in addressing heathcare's challenges. Brooks will discuss opportunities for the field to increase it's value to the U.S. healthcare system, identify ways providers can expand to deliver more effective end-of-life care, and discuss the importance of family caregivers' character on the end of life.

Brooks holds several prestigious positions as a commentator: bi-weekly Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times and regular analyst on PBS NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered. He currently teaches at Yale University.On Tuesday, April 24, Michael Burcham of Narus Health will deliver the morning's plenary presentation. In his address, "The Future of Healthcare," Burcham will discuss ways that the future of healthcare will be build around the consumer and their experience, not a payer nor a provider.

A nationally recognized healthcare CEO, strategist, entrepreneur and innovator, Burcham is the CEO of Narus Health, a healthcare organization whose care management services and technologies support individuals with serious medical conditions, their families, and the medical community engaged in their treatment.

Previous participants of the annual Management and Leadership Conference will enjoy innovations to the program. In 2018, two premiere events are coming together. The Management and Leadership Conference will be held in conjunction with the annual Advocacy Intensive (held during the summer in recent years). During the first two days of the event, hospice and palliative care leaders will take advantage of educational offerings that will focus on timely topics and new approaches to successfully leading and managing programs and staff. On Wednesday, the focus shifts to policy. In the morning, hear about the issues that could affect provider organizations and patients and families being served. During the afternoon, participants will travel to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators in a coordinated effort to take the voice of hospice and palliative care to the halls of Congress.

Concurrent session tracks for the 2018 MLC are:
  • Clinical and Operations Management
  • Engagement
  • Executive Leadership
  • Healthcare Systems
  • Palliative Care
  • Quality
  • Regulatory
  • Staff Development/Excellence
Preconference offerings, which include NHPCO's Hospice Manager Development Program, will be held on April 21 - 22, 2018. The conference will be hosted at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
Registration for the 2018 Management and Leadership Conference and the Advocacy Intensive is now open. Early-bird rates are available until December 15, 2017.  Register online, today!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A gift to those you love: this Thanksgiving talk about the care you would want

NHPCO is encouraging families to spend time when they may be gathered for the holidays, to talk about the care they would or would not want. This is particularly important if a family is coping with a serious or life-limiting illness of a loved one. Having discussions about one’s health care wishes is part of advance care planning.

Advance care planning involves making decisions about the care you would want to receive in a medical crisis that might be the result of a serious illness or an unexpected accident. Advance care planning also involves deciding who will speak for you if you are not able to speak for yourself.

An essential part of advance care planning involves having these important conversations with your loved ones. Advance care planning also includes:
  • Deciding what types of treatment you would or would not want should you be diagnosed with a life-limiting illness or faced with a serious medical crisis.
  • Sharing your personal values and beliefs with your loved ones.
  •  Completing an advance directive to put into writing what types of treatment you would or would not want.
  • Designating a person as your health care power of attorney (sometimes called a health care proxy) to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself.
“During the holiday season, families are often gathered together and that can be an ideal time to have caring conversations with loved ones about wishes and priorities for the future," said Edo Banach, NHPCO president and CEO. "This is one of the most important gifts we can give to our families and loved ones."

NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org offers free state-specific advance directive forms and free information to help families talk about the care they would want. Visit caringinfo.org/planningahead.

NHPCO offers a video that looks at issues involved in advance care planning.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Palliative Care: Comfort and Hope for People Dealing With Serious Illness

Palliative care, sometimes referred to as “comfort care,” is a specialized approach to the treatment of patients with a serious or life-threatening illness. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has released a new video to help the public understand more about palliative care and the many benefits it can provide. In the video, Michael Sampair talks about his experience with palliative care and being treated by the palliative care medical team at The Elizabeth Hospice in San Diego, California.

The goal of palliative care is to provide relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illness. It is also designed to improve the quality of life of both the patient and the patient’s family caregivers. What sets palliative care apart from hospice is that patients can continue to receive aggressive and curative-focused treatment like chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis and surgery while receiving palliative care. Palliative care brings another layer of support that often is missing in conventional medical care delivery.

“When patients don't have pain under control, it's hard for them to really enjoy life and to live life to the fullest and he was really finding he had a lot of life still to live but he wasn't able to enjoy it or to be fulfilled because of the pain,” says George Delgado, MD, FAAFP, HMDC, and Chief Medical Officer at The Elizabeth Hospice who worked with Michael to get his pain under control and manage his other symptoms which included insomnia and nausea.

Michael’s quality of life improved with proper symptom management and emotional support and he was able to make a trip to Minneapolis to see his family.

In the video, Michael explains that palliative care has helped in many ways. It allowed him to receive care at home versus traveling to the doctor. “People like me, we don't want to be in doctor's offices and hospitals,” he says. “So when they come and they visit you at home, that's special. That’s unexpected.”

Palliative care helped Michael Sampair achieve a better quality of life. 

“The philosophy of palliative care is the same as with hospice –patient-centered care that addresses the medical, psycho-social and spiritual needs of the person and family caregivers,” says NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach. “Many hospice programs across the country have implemented community-based palliative care programs into the services they offer.” 

To learn more about palliative care, visit momentsoflife.org/palliativecare or download a palliative care listicle that highlights some of the most common questions asked about palliative care.