Monday, February 25, 2013

Choosing Wisely® Campaign Promotes more Informed Healthcare Decisions

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization applauds new recommendations released as part of the Choosing Wisely® campaign to promote more informed healthcare decision making. 

The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the American Geriatric Society have both developed lists  identifying five specific tests, procedures or medication therapies  that physicians and patients should question – all part of the Choosing Wisely® campaign.
NHPCO encourages physicians to review this new information, particularly in areas that are relevant to people coping with serious and life-limiting illnesses, specifically:
  • Don’t recommend feeding tubes for patients with advanced dementia; instead offer to assist with feeding.
  • Don’t delay palliative care for a patient with serious illness who has physical, psychological, social or spiritual distress because they are pursuing disease-directed treatment.
  • Don’t leave an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) activated when it is inconsistent with the patient/family goals of care.
NHPCO has been a strong advocate for earlier access to hospice palliative care services. Additionally, the organization has a position statement on the Care of Hospice Patients with Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (PDF) available online.

 Choosing Wisely® is a national campaign launched in April by the ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports that promotes conversations between physicians and patients about utilizing the most appropriate tests and treatments and avoiding unnecessary care.
For more information on Choosing Wisely, visit:
For information on advance directives, and helpful information on end-of-life care, visit NHPCO’s consumer website, Caring Connections at:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Call for Proposals - 2013 Clinical Team Conference & Pediatric Intensive

Join colleagues from across the country that are committed to innovation and excellence by submitting a proposal that demonstrates significant work and achievement for NHPCO’s 14th Clinical Team Conference and Peditaric Intensive. The deadline for proposals is March 25, 2013.

The theme for NHPCO's 14th Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive underscores a drive for the hospice and palliative care field to innovate and pursue excellence in all endeavors. The conference will explore care continuum, interdisciplinary, team, medical, clinical, psychosocial, spiritual, bereavement and team innovation and excellence – in all their myriad facets, ideas, forms and outcomes.

The CTC will be held September 26 – 28, 2013, in Kansas City.

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, you need to keep pace with evidence-based practice, adapt and respond to impending changes in the field, work in partnership with your community to meet patient and family needs across the care continuum and ensure that every component of the care and services you provide is excellent.

Visit the Call for Proposals page online.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hospice Medicare Rates Impacted by Sequestration

Most Americans are aware that Congress took action in January to avoid the fiscal cliff that would impact just about every aspect of federal spending. While most individual income tax increases were avoided, Congress provided only short term relief from dramatic spending cuts within the federal budget. Indeed, absent a more considered alternative, “across the board” spending cuts will be made effective on March 1, 2013. These forced spending cuts are a process called sequestration – and in most cases, legislators want to avoid sequestration because the cuts are done with such a broad brush that they negatively impact just about everyone.

As March 1 approaches, NHPCO wants to provide more detailed information on the implementation of sequestration, which will involve a 2% cut in Medicare payments, effective for services provided on or after April 1.

What does this mean?
 1. Hospices will continue to bill at the FY2013 rates.
 2. For services provided on or after April 1, 2013, the MAC will deduct 2% from the reimbursement before paying the claim.  The hospice will NOT bill at the 98% rate.
 3.The sequestration cuts will continue for 10 years, unless there is Congressional action to discontinue them.

NHPCO issued a Regulatory Alert (02/12/13) for members that provides links to some additional information, including a wage index chart and rate calculator.

Friday, February 1, 2013

NHPCO Brings 100 Hospice Leaders Together to Create Future Care Delivery Models

More than 100 hospice and palliative care senior level managers and leaders gathered in Florida to identify and explore innovative approaches to bring the benefits of hospice care to people with advanced or chronic illness. 

Creating the Hospice Palliative Care Continuum: A Futuring Forum was the first official event hosted by NHPCO’s Mary J. Labyak Institute for Innovation at the Westin Diplomat Hotel, January 22 – 24, 2013. The focus of the Futuring Forum was to identify and create innovative approaches to bring the services hospice provides – including pain and symptom management, care coordination, home safety assessments, emotional and spiritual support and caregiver education and services -- to individuals and family caregivers coping with serious and chronic illness.

The Futuring Forum built upon participatory experiences with forum attendees engaging with presenters during five master classes and working in small groups to explore new ideas.

Master Classes featured guest speakers from outside of the hospice palliative care field. They included Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle; Clement Bezold, PhD, founder and chairman of the Institute for Alternative Futures; Jennie Chin Hansen, executive director of the American Geriatrics Society; Jim Kinsey, senior consultation services specialist for Planetree; and Steve Gross, chief playmaker and executive director of Life is Good Foundation.

“The opportunity for us to tap into the great minds of a number of dynamic innovators from many different fields fostered a spirit of creativity that allowed many of us to think in new ways and reframe the traditional hospice model as a series of services or products that individuals with serious illness so desperately need,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.

Added Schumacher, “Some of the common themes that repeatedly came up as our guest presenters interacted with Forum attendees centered on the dedication and passion that motivates hospice professionals. The hospice field was created by those striving to innovate how the dying were cared for over 30 years ago – the need to tap back into this creativity came up repeatedly during the Forum.”

NHPCO plans to share ideas from the Futuring Forum at its upcoming Management & Leadership Conference (April 25-27, 2013, at the Gaylord National Harbor Convention Center, National Harbor, MD) and via other member platforms to prompt further discussion and collaboration of new ideas and innovations.