Friday, August 30, 2019

Don't Miss This 2019 IDC Preconference Offering

"Don’t Throw Solutions at the Problem to See What Sticks…a Six Sigma Approach to Focused Problem Solving" 

Hospice programs are experiencing increased scrutiny around the delivery, cost and quality of care.  Hospice providers may encounter further scrutiny from the general public due to the recent OIG report – Hospice Deficiencies Pose Risks to Medicare Beneficiaries, dated July 2019, as well as the media coverage on the report.  It is imperative that hospice providers continue to educate the public about quality care delivery.

Using a systematic approach to improve your quality of care delivery is now more important than ever.    Six Sigma/Lean Sigma is a process improvement method that provides organizations with the tools to improve business and quality processes. The increase in performance and decrease in process variation leads to a reduction in deficiencies, improvement in profits, better employee morale, and a higher quality of services.

At the upcoming 2019 Interdisciplinary Conference in Orlando, Florida, a session about the Six Sigma/Lean Sigma process will be available during the preconference offerings on Sunday, November 3. Participants will learn the difference between Six Sigma and the Lean Sigma approach to problem solving, as well as how to apply a systematic approach to process improvement and identification of root causes of any variance in quality.

As CMS moves closer to a restructured payment model for hospice, providers must ensure efficient delivery of quality hospice care.  An increase in performance and a decrease in process variation, by clinical staff, leads to a reduction in survey deficiencies and an increase in quality metrics reflected in CAHPS scores and Pepper Reports.  Please join us for this preconference offering - Don’t Throw Solutions at the Problem to See What Sticks…a Six Sigma Approach to Focused Problem Solving.

For more information about this preconference offering and the 2019 Interdisciplinary Conference, please visit

Submitted by Sarah McSpadden
President and COO, The Elizabeth Hospice

Sarah McSpadden

Thursday, August 22, 2019

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, October 12

People from around the world who have been impacted by a life-limiting illness - either personally or by supporting a loved one - will be making their voices heard calling for greater awareness and support of global palliative care services on Saturday, October 12, 2019.

The theme My Care, My Right aims to communicate that palliative care can be demanded by the public - and that, together, every person impacted by a life limiting illness can advocate for palliative care. 

This year's WHPCD 2019 comes on the heels of the UN High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) on September 23, 2019. Therefore, a key action for the campaign will be to call on governments to listen to people who need or access palliative care and support the inclusion of the essential package of palliative care in all national Universal Health Coverage (UHC) schemes.

The theme of My Care, My Right will address the importance of mobilizing communities, particularly volunteers to ensure that patient’s right to care are supported. Specifically addressing the premise that if care is a patient's right, how can UHC support carers to improve their well being under Sustainable Development Goal 3.8. 

How to get involved:
  • Subscribe to the WHPCA's newsletter for campaign updates and the launch of new campaign materials: 
  • Follow @worldhospiceday on Twitter
  • Follow hashtags: #mycaremyright and #whpcd19
Visit the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day website for resources and consider hosting an event in your community that you can register on the World Day website. 

This is a great way to get reach for November's National Hospice and Palliative Care Month outreach in the U.S.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Virtual Hill Week: Preparatory Webinar #2

Calling all hospice and palliative care advocates!

In preparation for Virtual Hill Week, September 9 – 13, 2019, Hospice Action Network is happy to present the second of three preparatory webinars offered free of charge.

Join the Hospice Action Network lobbying team on Wednesday, August 21 at 3:30 EDT for webinar #2.  Hear the latest news from Capitol Hill, including information on PCHETA and the Rural Access to Hospice Act. Gain a better understanding of how the legislative process works and learn about issues affecting our community.

Register here to attend this free webinar.

If you missed the first webinar, don’t worry. You can view the recording and complete the post-webinar survey here, as well as register for the third webinar in the series.

As an incentive, upon completing all three webinars and all Virtual Hill Week participation requirements (September 9-13), participants will receive a virtual certificate from the Hospice Action Network designating them a 2019 Virtual Hill Week All-Star. And ONE lucky All-Star will be chosen at random to receive a 50% off registration to the 2020 Leadership and Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC.

Remember, you can advocate for hospice and palliative care from wherever you are and carry the voice of our community to Capitol Hill

Feel free to reach out to the HAN team with any questions.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Registration for IDC19 is Now Open

NHPCO will host the 2019 Interdisciplinary Conference on November 4 – 6 in Orlando, Florida. Preconference offerings are on November 2 and 3.

Join hospice and palliative care professionals from across the country colleagues to experience a unique blend of keynotes, educational sessions, preconference learning and networking opportunities grounded in the philosophy of the interdisciplinary team. Engage with colleagues from across the country as you learn about new approaches, successful models and innovations that will advance your professional skill set and help strengthen your organization.

Who should attend? Professionals in the hospice and palliative care field and related stakeholders in the following disciplines and roles: advanced nurse practitioner, bereavement, nurse, palliative care, pediatrics, physician, quality, regulatory and compliance, social work, spiritual care.

IDC19 educational session tracks:
  • Community-Based Palliative Care
  • Interdisciplinary Team Leadership
  • Medical Care
  • Pediatrics
  • Quality
  • Regulatory
  • Supportive Care

Visit the NHPCO website to learn more about IDC19 and to register – register by September 15, 2019 to catch the early-bird rate!

Friday, August 2, 2019

FY2020 Hospice Wage Index Final Rule

On July 31, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule (CMS-1714-F) that demonstrates continued commitment to strengthening Medicare by better aligning the hospice payment rates with the costs of providing care and increasing transparency so patients can make more informed choices.

This final rule updates the hospice payment rates, wage index, and cap amount for fiscal year FY2020.  This rule finalizes rebasing of the continuous home care (CHC), general inpatient care (GIP), and the inpatient respite care (IRC) per diem payment rates in a budget-neutral manner through a small reduction to the routine home care (RHC) rates to more accurately align Medicare payments with the costs of providing care. Additionally, this rule finalizes modifications to the election statement by requiring hospices, upon request, to furnish an election statement addendum effective beginning in FY2021. The addendum will list those items, services, and drugs the hospice has determined to be unrelated to the terminal illness and related conditions, increasing coverage transparency for beneficiaries under a hospice election. Finally, CMS will continue its work to modernize and strengthen Medicare operations through the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP).

The hospice payment system includes a statutory aggregate cap. The aggregate cap limits the overall payments per patient made to a hospice annually. The final hospice cap amount for the FY 2020 cap year will be $29,964.78, which is equal to the FY 2019 cap amount ($29,205.44) updated by the final FY 2020 hospice payment update percentage of 2.6 percent.

Read the CMS press release on CMS website.

Members of NHPCO will find a comprehensive Regulatory Alert and additional resources on the NHPCO website.