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 and 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!