Friday, June 29, 2018

PCHETA Mark-Up in the House of Representatives

The Palliative Care Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) was advanced by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health on June 27, 2018.
PCHETA (S. 693 and HR.1676) was first developed by NHPCO, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association and is now embraced by 53 organizations through the Patient Quality of Life Coalition.

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would provide palliative medicine training in a variety of settings, including hospice.  PCHETA will also establish a program to enable hospice and palliative physicians to train teams of interdisciplinary healthcare professionals in palliative and hospice care techniques. Additionally, PCHETA will expand the types of professionals trained to provide hospice care, including nurses and clinical social workers. Learn more about PCHETA.

As a hospice and palliative care advocate, it is imperative that you continue to call and email your Members of Congress in the Energy and Commerce Committee regarding this legislation.
PCHETA is sponsored in the Senate by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).  In the House of Representatives, Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), and Buddy Carter (R-GA) lead the bill.
  • View the current list of cosponsors – in the Senate and in the House.
NHPCO and the Hospice Action Network extend deep appreciation to the many professionals and hospice advocates that supported efforts to move this legislation forward.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

It's Virtual Hill Week: Make Your Voice Heard!

Virtual Hill Week is June 18-22, 2018, and everyone across the U.S. is encouraged to participate: hospice staff, caregivers, family members, patients, supporters, and community members.

NHPCO and its affiliate organization, the Hospice Action Network, are asking citizens to urge Congress to support access to hospice care and quality end-of-life care for all Americans.

Please set aside a few minutes this week to ask Members of Congress to cosponsor the Rural Access to Hospice Act (PDF). The Rural Access to Hospice Act would help millions of rural Americans retain their attending physician when transitioning to hospice care. Please contact Congress today and make sure your voice is heard on Capitol Hill.

Hospice Action Network has created a Virtual Hill Week website and online advocacy module that makes it simple to ensure your elected officials know of your support for quality end-of-life care. The advocacy module offers a series of communication options, including submitting an email, making a phone call, and posting on social media. NHPCO and HAN urge you to consider completing all options!

Do your part this week to advocate on behalf of patients facing serious illness and the end of life. If you have any questions, feel free to email the HAN Team at

Friday, June 15, 2018

Opioid Bills Pass in the House

On June 13, 2018, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives approved over two dozen bills that will help mitigate the impact of opioids, synthetic drugs, and other pain management medication on communities.

Important news for the U.S. hospice community is that the "Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act" (H.R. 5041) was among the many bills approved, passing unanimously with a 398-0 vote.

Currently, the Drug Enforcement Administration forbids hospice personnel from destroying unused medication unless authorized by state law. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will allow hospice personnel to assist in the disposal of unused medication following a patient’s death, helping decrease the opportunity for diversion, addiction and unintentional misuse of prescription drugs.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization strongly supported this important legislation and applauds the bill’s sponsors Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-02), and Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08) for their leadership in fighting America’s opioid crisis.

It is the understanding of the NHPCO policy team that all the bills voted on June 13 will be merged into a single bill that will be sent to the Senate for its consideration. NHPCO hopes that the legislation will be signed into law in the coming months.

Additionally, CMS issued an Opioids Road Map outlining its efforts to address this issue of national concern. In this roadmap, CMS details a three-pronged approach to combating the opioid epidemic, focusing on:
  • Prevention of new cases of opioid use disorder (OUD)
  • Treatment of patients who have already become dependent on or addicted to opioids
  • Utilization of data from across the country to target prevention and treatment activities
Read the CMS Opioid Road Map blog post published June 11.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Father's Day and #MyHospice

It’s less than one week until Father’s Day, June 17. While the connection between Father’s Day and hospice might not seem the most obvious, this can be a time to help raise awareness. Father’s Day is all about honoring those individuals who have fulfilled a paternal role in our lives – whether it be our dad, grandfather, or other special person. Father’s Day provides a wonderful opportunity for the hospice and palliative care community to share and promote stories about the compassionate, coordinated care that we provide to dads, or those who are like a dad, and families who need our support at the end-of-life.

Raising awareness of the importance of hospice care and the value of the Medicare hospice benefit is what the new My Hospice Campaign is all about. Taking the opportunity Father’s Day affords to recognize the day with a story from our community reminds people that #MyHospice is about the compassion and dignity we bring to all those we serve.

NHPCO and HAN have created several #MyHospice assets, including social media and special messaging, for you to use to honor someone on Father’s Day.

Get involved: please visit our Father's Day webpage to learn more.


Additionally, don’t forget to share with My Hospice your stories about dad or others who fill a paternal role! 
Happy Father’s Day to all those who care so much!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Catch the Early-Bird for 2018 Virtual Conference

Register by June 8 for early-bird registration rates for the 2018 Virtual Conference "Turning Points: Mastering Transitions in Care" hosted on July 18 - 19, 2018. Transitions can come in many different forms. Like a shift in care settings or a situation that requires the team to reframe and tap into new approaches or shift perspectives. This Virtual Conference will explore these important points.

Presented by three highly-regarded organizations, NHPCO, AAHPM and HPNA, the 2018 Virtual Conference is one of the most economical and convenient ways to bring high quality education to your team or your office without the expenses associated with a traditional "out of town" conference. The educational line-up for the 2018 Virtual Conference is available online - and online registration for this worthwhile event is open.

Plenary presentations that will be broadcast live from NHPCO:
  •  Opening Plenary - "Hospice: Intruder or Emissary? One Family's Experience" with Robin Romm
  • Plenary II - "De-Prescribeing: Facilitating a Key Transition Point for Patients and Families" with Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE and Shaida Talebreza, MD, FAAHPM, HMDC, AGSF
  • Plenary III - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Using Communication to Enhance Care Transitions" with Laura Shoemaker, DO, MS
  • Closing Plenary - "The Invisible Transitions Inside the Labyrinth of Caregiving" with Debbie Parker Oliver, PhD, MSW
Download the Agenda at a Glance (PDF) to see currently scheduled sessions presented over the two days of the conference.

Register online by June 8 to take advantage of early-bird registration rates!  (Of course, normal online registration rates are available after that date.) 


Friday, June 1, 2018

We Honor Veterans Releases New Video to Recruit Hospice Partners

In March of 2018, three NHPCO staff members – Katherine Kemp, Hope Fost, and I - embarked on a trip to Severn, Maryland to meet Albert Sherard, a 92-year-old Vietnam Veteran and Hospice of the Chesapeake patient. We interviewed Mr. Sherard, his daughter Winette, and members of the hospice staff to create a video that would give partners a tool to promote the work they are doing, help educate the public about We Honor Veterans and more importantly, recruit new hospice partners to the program. We gathered great material to work with but came away from this trip with much more. We all felt honored to spend time with an American hero and witness the beautiful connection that he and his Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer have made. To see the benefits of the We Honor Veterans program in person and in action is priceless!

In the video, viewers get a glimpse of how Albert and his Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer Charles DeBarber spend their time together. The Veteran to- Veteran volunteer initiative is a required activity once WHV partners reach Level Three. Hospice of the Chesapeake, a Level Four partner, has has a robust Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer program.

Pictured left to right are Veteran-toVeteran volunteer Charles DeBarber, Katherine Kemp, Amanda Bow, Albert Sherard, Winette Sherard, and Hope Fost.
 “Our We Honor Veterans program brings together our Veterans in the community to our Veteran patients,” said Hospice of the Chesapeake Director of Volunteer Services Mary Jermann. “And there’s a really powerful brotherhood and relationship there that is experienced through the multitude of the relationships that are formed here at Hospice of the Chesapeake.”

Albert was an avid gardener but with his declining condition, he is unable to be as active as he once was. Charles has found a way to bring the outside in. The video shows the two Veterans at Albert’s kitchen table preparing plants that will eventually make their way into the ground. The connection between the two is evident on screen and Albert’s daughter Winette reinforces the idea. “I think he feels good that it’s a Veteran he can talk to,” Winette said. “There is something that happens that makes it a brotherhood, even though they are very different ages.”

Additionally, the video highlights the goals of the WHV program and explains why it’s vital that hospice organizations become partners.

Hospice of the Chesapeake CEO & President Ben Marcantonio encourages other hospice programs to join WHV. “We became keenly aware of how many Veterans are served through our hospice population. Those people who need hospice care - of those people, 25% in our region are Veterans. So just that in and of itself was a compelling argument for our commitment to this aspect of our service.”

WHV partner programs are invited to use the video to educate their community about their partnership and for promotional opportunities.  Watch the video below; it can also be found on the WHV website and on YouTube

By Amanda Bow
Director of Communications