Rep. Jenkins Discusses the Importance of the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act at Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Hearing on Improving Medicare
June 14, 2016 08:40 AM
On June 8, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Health Subcommittee held a “Member Day” hearing and 20 bipartisan Members presented legislative proposals on improving Medicare.
During the hearing, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) discussed the importance of the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act (H.R. 1202), which would recognize attending physician assistants as attending physicians to serve hospice patients. Rep. Jenkins and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced the bill last year and now have 36 additional cosponsors. In the U.S. Senate, Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced similar legislation (S. 1354). Current law limits the patient’s choice of a hospice attending physician to the patient's physician or Nurse Practitioner (NP).
“H.R. 1202, the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act, which I introduced with Congressman Thompson, will allow physician assistants to receive reimbursement from Medicare as the attending physician in a hospice setting,” Rep. Jenkins said. In explaining the importance of the bill, she said hospice care is “incredibly important” in her district where there is “a lack of hospitals and doctors’ offices that urban districts have with large health systems.”
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice has created a campaign in its Legislative Action Center through which advocates can easily contact their Members of Congress to support the House and Senate bills. Please click here to contact your Members and encourage them to cosponsor the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act today.
During the hearing, the Members discussed more than 30 legislative proposals regarding Medicare. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) raised another proposal related to home and community-based care, the Community Based Independence for Seniors Act (H.R. 4212/S. 704). “The bill would establish a Community-Based Institutional Special Needs Plan demonstration program to provide home and community-based long-term services and supports to low-income Medicare beneficiaries who need assistance with at least two activities of daily living,” Rep. Meehan said. “Home and community-based care holds the promise of keeping seniors healthy and avoiding costly care.”
Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) said the hearing was an opportunity for the Members to make the case for their legislative Medicare proposals. “Members have put a lot of work into developing and drafting these pieces of legislation,” he said. “And this Member Day hearing is their opportunity to share with their colleagues—and the American people—why these bills are important and why this committee should take them up.”
Additional information about the hearing is available here, and video footage is available here.