Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Virtual Conference Agenda at a Glance

NHPCO invites you to review the Agenda at a Glance for this summer's Virtual Conference, Aligning Practice with Evidence, coming to your organization, conference center or even your home via the Internet on July 26 - 27, 2017.

Presented by NHPCO, AAHPM and HPNA, t
he 2017 Virtual Conference is one of the most economical and convenient ways to bring high quality education to your team without the expenses associated with a traditional "out of town" conference.

Do you incorporate the latest research into your practice? Why? And if not, why not? This year's conference will explore ways that the medical and clinical practices of our field are aligned with scientific evidence. Sometimes our “usual” approaches to patient care and symptom management become our standard because “it’s how we do things.” The urgencies of meeting patient/family needs can make it difficult to read clinical journals and attend conferences. Even when we do try to keep up with advances in the field, we may lack confidence in our abilities to analyze what we read and hear—and discern which evidence warrants change in practice and which does not.

Act now and register today to lock in the early bird rate! 


Friday, May 19, 2017

2017 HAN Advocacy Intensive: Be Their Voice

Hospice Action Network and NHPCO will host the 2017 Advocacy Intensive in Washington, DC, on July 17-18, 2017.

Registration for the HAN Advocacy Intensive is now open. This event gives hospice programs nationwide an opportunity to stand as one community and speak with one voice on Capitol Hill – a voice for the patients and families we serve across the nation.

"We face constant change and uncertainty in health care and beyond. It is crucial that we seize the opportunity to educate policy makers about hospice and palliative care. And who better to tell the stories of hospice care than the nurses, social workers, chaplains, volunteers, and the many others who provide care at the bedside every day?" said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach.

The HAN Advocacy Intensive offers a comprehensive educational program for beginners and experienced advocates alike. Attendees will learn best practices to become effective hospice advocates, and how to build relationships with policy-makers over time. This is the best opportunity for the hospice community to learn the skills needed to influence the legislators and staff who are shaping the future of health care.

"Your patients need a voice in Washington. You can be that voice," added Banach.

This special event is offered free of charge.

Learn more and register for the 2017 Hospice Action Network Advocacy Intensive.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Call for Posters: 2017 Virtual Conference

NHPCO, AAHPM and HPNA are seeking posters of original research studies, systematic reviews, evidence-based clinical practice approaches and related topics for inclusion in the Virtual Poster Gallery for the 2017 Virtual Conference, "Aligning Practice with Evidence."

The Virtual Conference will be held July 26-27, 2017 with online content available for registered participants for three months following the conference. Poster proposals will be accepted through May 26, 2017.

Poster Expectations

  • All Posters displayed at the Virtual Conference must adhere to content validation value statements. Specifically, all suggestions or recommendations involving clinical medicine and practice must be based upon evidence that is accepted within the medical profession.
  • In addition, all scientific research referred to, reported or used in a conference session must conform to the generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection and analysis.
  • Faculty is expected to refrain from overt statements, harsh language or pointed humor that disparages the rightful dignity and social equity of any individual or group.
  • All materials submitted for Posters must be reviewed by the conveners prior to the conference. As a result, deadlines for submission of Posters are scheduled well in advance of the event.
Poster Submission Guidelines
In order to allow an independent evaluation of the relevance and potential effectiveness of the Poster Presentation, submissions must include the following:

  • Area of Emphasis: Select from a menu of options
  • Title: A title for the Poster that informs the reviewer of the subject matter
  • Description: A brief description to be used to promote your Poster
  • Learning Objectives: Written from the perspective of what participants will learn
  • References/Citations: Three to five references from the past 5 years
  • Content Outline: Background, methods, results and conclusions for all research Posters; description of all major topics for non-research entries;
  • Faculty contact information, biographical sketch, disclosure.
Full details and the online poster submission portal is open now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Linda Rock Receives Leadership Award

For her professional leadership in the field and her dedication to advancing hospice and palliative care, Linda Rock was awarded the Galen Miller Leadership Award at the opening plenary of NHPCO’s 2017 Management and Leadership Conference.  

Rock was immediate past chair of the NHPCO Board of Directors. During her many years of active involvement with NHPCO, she staffed numerous committees and provided strong and steady leadership at a time of significant change and transition at NHPCO.

More than 1,200 hospice and palliative care leaders, practitioners, and senior managers were in attendance at the conference that began May 1, 2017 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC.

“There is no more worthy recipient than Linda, who has worked tirelessly on behalf of hospice at the local, regional and national level.  A stalwart advocate on behalf of rural hospice care, Linda has been a proponent of greater access and the development of high-quality care for her entire professional life,” said John Mastrojohn, NHPCO’s senior vice president and COO.

Created in memory of Galen Miller, NHPCO’s executive vice president who died in August 2013, this award recognizes a champion and advocate from the field who has demonstrated the highest levels of dedication and passion for the hospice and palliative care community and the patients and families that receive care.

Linda Rock (C) is surrounded by the members of NHPCO’s leadership team and Bob Ward at the award presentation. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

NHPCO Comments on CMS Proposed FY2018 Hospice Wage Index Rule

On April 27, 2017, the Federal Register posted the FY2018 Hospice Wage Index proposed rule for public inspection.  Download the proposed rule, public inspection version (PDF). 

Overall, the Notice of Proposed Rule Making is both encouraging and discouraging for providers in the U.S. hospice community. NHPCO is pleased that CMS is recognizing the regulatory and administrative burdens facing the hospice community, and that CMS is trying to find ways to not add to that burden. We applaud the effort and recognition of the challenges of serving our nation’s patients and families.

Market Basket Increase
Unfortunately, the statutory limitation of the FY 2018 market basket to no more than a one percent increase, when the NPRM notes that it should be at least twice as much (2.2 percent) further burdens the community facing ever-increasing costs, and forces hospice providers to do more with less.

Quality Measures and Public Reporting
The hospice community is encouraged that CMS continues its efforts toward developing and implementing quality measures and public reporting, including a Star rating system.  At the same time, the hospice community is concerned about the use of claims data as the basis of new measures.  Also, it appears that CMS is intent on merely documenting the amount of continuous care and general inpatient care that is delivered, rather than assessing the actual needs of patients and how the hospice community is meeting those more intense clinical needs.

Patient Eligibility and the Physician’s Role
While CMS notes it is soliciting comments about the underlying documentation that is used, or should be used to determine patient eligibility, they seem to be ignoring the persistent problem of short hospice stays.

The thrust of their inquiry seems to be directed toward hospice physicians being required to review and reference the attending physician’s medical notes prior to the initial certification of a patient as eligible for hospice, or even requiring a face-to-face encounter with the hospice physician, prior to certification.  The hospice community already deals with patients dying during the admissions process, and with approximately 25 percent of hospice patients dying within seven days, and more than half within two weeks, waiting for patient records, or an appointment with the hospice physician, would be a cruel and inhumane process that would deny patients the very care they need.

Unless and until there is universal electronic medical records and the medical records are accessible across all care settings, this approach is very troubling indicator of a lack of understanding of what patients and families are going through and the devastating impact that it could have on hospice admissions.

CMS did note that the level of live discharges, from all causes, had remained relatively constant at 17 percent and as such, didn’t reveal any anomalies.

SIA Impact
CMS also noted that the Service Intensity Add-on didn’t seem to have influenced the number or duration of visits by clinical specialists in the last seven days of life.  As the hospice community continues to make adjustments under the new payment system, this bears additional review.

We look forward to a very engaged and collaborative working relationship with CMS to provide insights and actual operational impact examples of their proposals.

NHPCO members will find a regulatory alert offering more detailed analysis available on the NHPCO website.