“While much policy attention has been dedicated to the 10 percent of patients who receive care under the Medicare Hospice Benefit for more than 180 days, there has not been nearly enough attention paid to more than 60 percent that die within 30 days,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
Regulators and organizations such as MedPAC have voiced concerns about long length of service (more than 180 days) that some hospice patients receive. In recent months, some media sources have focused on this segment of the hospice patient population, often misunderstanding the value hospice provides patients and family caregivers beyond what is known as “brink of death” care.
Many people incorrectly associate the prognosis requirement of six months or less that is necessary for a patient to access care under the Medicare hospice benefit as a limit to the amount of time a patient can receive care. As long as the patient continues to meet the prognosis of six months or less – meaning the physician might expect the patient to die within six weeks if his or her medical condition continues to advance – the patient is eligible for hospice care.
In order to create a public dialogue and bring transparency to this complicated set of issues, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s HospiceAction Network (NHPCO HAN) is hosting The Right Care and the Right Time: An Open Conversation on Hospice Length of Stay.
The second annual policy symposium hosted by NHPCO HAN is set for Tuesday, March 25, 2014, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Union Station’s Columbus Room in Washington, DC. For event details and registration information, visit hospiceactionnetwork.org/symposium.
HAN's 2013 Policy Symposium featured opening remarks
from Joe Klein of TIME Magazine.