Education and Discussion on Day 1 of March on Washington
June 13, 2017 03:08 PM
The first day of the June 2017 edition of NAHC’s March on Washington featured education and conversation, as NAHC staff met with home care and hospice advocates from around the country at the Frederick Douglass Museum on Capitol Hill.
“This is a critical time” in Washington for health care, said NAHC Counsel Ben Nelson, a two-term Governor and Senator from Nebraska. “Every time you come to Washington is a chance you have to make a difference” for home care and hospice.
NAHC staffers went over in detail the top home care and hospice issues before Congress right now, listening to concerns from agency owners and offering insight into how to advocate in a congressional office.
“Focus on the staff,” when lobbing on Capitol Hill, said Senator Nelson. “I was never better than my staff,” explained Nelson, who informed attendees that individual members of Congress rely on their staff for information and can be heavily influenced by them.
“Don’t forget to add your personal stories” when speaking to members of Congress and their staff, suggested NAHC Vice President Policy, Meetings and Education Andrea Devoti, an experienced veteran in lobbying legislators who ran a home care agency for 20 years.
Although the Republicans who control Congress are preoccupied with the American Health Care Act, their repeal-and-replace solution to the Affordable Care Act, there will be opportunities for the home care and hospice community to advance its interests, said NAHC Vice President for Law Bill Dombi.
Attendees flying-in for the March shared personal experience and stories related to NAHC legislative priorities. Of particular note were the varied frustrations dealing with the face to face and physician documentation regulatory challenge.
Following the discussion was a reception where attendees, NAHC staff, and Senator Nelson were able to network, make new connections, and share personal and professional stories with one another.
The top priorities discussed by attendees and NAHC staffers were as follows:
Support the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (S. 445/H.R. 1825), which would allow Nurse Practitioners, Advanced Practice Nurses, and Physician Assistants to sign Medicare home health care plans;
Support the Preserve Access to Medicare Rural Home Health Services Act (S. 353), which would make permanent the three percent add-on for home health services delivered to residents of rural areas;
Support the Home Health Documentation and Program Improvement Act (H.R. 2663, Face to Face/Physician Certification Documentation), which would direct the CMS to consider the entire patient record, including the home health agency’s record, when determining benefit eligibility.
Support the Patient Choice and Quality Care Act (H.R. 2797), which would test advanced illness models and early use of palliative care, as well as encourage use of interdisciplinary teams to meet all a patient’s goals and support his or her end of life decisions;
Support the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (S. 693/H.R. 1676), which would boost palliative care training for physicians and other providers, as well as increase palliative care and hospice research and education.
Please go to the Virtual Lobby Day page and click on the ADD YOUR VOICE button below each issue. That will take you to a page where you can quickly and painlessly send an email to members of Congress to take action on behalf of the vast and growing community of Americans who depend on home care and hospice.