Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Children with Medical Complexities: Free e-journal

A new edition of the free e-journal published by NHPCO's Children's Project on Palliative/Hospice Services is available online. Children with Medical Complexities, Part One (Issue #36; August 2014) is a free e-journal published by NHPCO’s Children’s Project on Palliative/Hospice Services. This new edition is a collection of articles focused on caring for children with medical complexities. This is the first of two editions looking at this important topic.

As noted in the introduction of one of the articles, “Medically complex and fragile children with progressive diseases present unique and complex challenges for their medical management that require coordination, flexibility, and consistent community…between the family, hospice and medical teams.”

Alison Kirkland, a mother who wrote the article “After the Unexpected Happens,” shares her personal insight: “Despite the heartache and stress, parenting a child with medical complexities can be one of the most joyful and rewarding experiences of your life.”

Additional articles in this issue include:
•    Caring in Uncertainty: Children and Families with Genetic Conditions
•    The Partnership between Palliative Medicine and Children with Medical Complexity
•    Complex Care Coordination
•    Pediatric Palliative Care and Pediatric Surgery: Common Issues
•    Staff Bereavement in Palliative Pediatric Care

Visit the archive page of the ChiPPS e-journal/e-newsletter page on the NHPCO website for access to previous editions of this publication.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Legislation Introduced to Promote Appropriate Hospice Oversight

Legislation requiring more timely surveys of Medicare-certified hospice care programs was introduced on Friday, August 1, before the House of Representatives adjourned for the August recess.  Led by Congressmen Tom Reed (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), the Hospice Opportunities for Supporting Patients with Integrity and Care Evaluations (HOSPICE) Act, HR 5393, is being well-received by the hospice community.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization enthusiastically supports this new legislation and applauds the work of Congressmen Reed and Thompson who are strong champions of hospice care.
The HOSPICE Act would require that hospices be surveyed no less frequently than every three years and authorizes funding for CMS to contract for the additional oversight.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) examined hospice survey frequency in 2007 and 2013 and found that the existing intervals and resources were inadequate.  The mandatory survey frequency in HR 5393 is consistent with the OIG recommendations.

Additionally, the new bill will make a technical correction to allow for implementation of existing law requiring CMS to conduct a medical review of hospice programs that reach to be determined threshold of patients under care for more than 180 days.  The threshold would be established by CMS.  NHPCO has supported this provision since it was originally recommended by MedPAC in 2009. 
“These are two important program integrity provision that have long-been supported by NHPCO.  The hospice community is very serious about compliance and protecting the quality of care that is promised by the Medicare Hospice Benefit,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.

This new bill builds on a provision from the HELP Hospice Act (HR 2302/S 1053) that addresses mandating hospice surveys as a critically important program integrity piece.

Friday, August 1, 2014

2014 Circle of Life Award® Presented

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Hospice Foundation honor the recipients of the 2014 Circle of Life Award®.  Presented on July 21 at the American Hospital Association’s annual summit held in San Diego, the award celebrates innovation in end-of-life care and highlights programs that demonstrate superior vision, depth, and scope. 

The 2014 Circle of Life Award honorees are:
  • Baylor Health Care System Supportive and Palliative Care Services, Dallas, Texas
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and Foundation, Yakima, Washington
In announcing the honored recipients, AHA emphasized that the programs share overriding themes of creating and championing the role of palliative care through the community.

In addition to the three award winners, AHA presented a Citation of Honor to the Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, Ambulatory Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“These programs serve as models for us all as we move forward in our shared goal of providing the highest quality of care for all those we serve,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO and NHF president and CEO. “We are proud to celebrate those care providers that are leading the way in innovation and quality care delivery.”

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 the AHA website.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Hospice Foundation are major sponsors of the 2014 award, as is the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

Left to right: Dr. Jonathan Perlin, American Hospital Association Board; Dr. Elizabeth Kvale, University of Alabama Birmingham; Diane Patterson, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital; Donna Stevens, Lehigh Valley Health Network; Dr. Robert L. Fine, Baylor Health Care System; Mary Starmann-Harrison, AHA’s Executive Committee.