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NAHC Report: Issue# 2536, 10/27/2014
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ARTICLE ARCHIVES MEMBER RESOURCES eNEWSLETTERS CARING STORE
Action Needed on Bill to Delay Implementation of Employer Mandate
Washington Post Publishes its Fifth Article in a Series on Hospice
For Your Information: National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation’s Improving Access to Integrated Palliative Care Webinar Archive Available
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Action Needed on Bill to Delay Implementation of Employer Mandate
Further advocacy is needed to recruit additional cosponsors before bill can get a vote

NAHC is urging all of its members to ask their Representatives to support legislation that would delay the employer mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) until January 1, 2016 for businesses that offer services through Medicaid and Medicare. The bill, introduced by Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), is entitled the Ensuring Medicaid and Medicare Access to Providers Act (H.R. 5098).  (See NAHC Report, July 17, 2014 for coverage of this bill: click here).

The employer mandate is scheduled to go into effect on January 1 of 2015, just two months away. To obtain a delay in implementing this requirement, it is imperative that NAHC members accelerate their efforts of getting more cosponsors for H.R. 5098. 

"The home care and hospice community is fighting many battles to ensure access to care does not diminish across the country,” said NAHC’s Vice President for Law Bill Dombi. “I urge everybody to ask their Representatives to support the bill of Rep. Daines that would offer some much needed relief from the looming employer mandate and the drastic consequenses it could have on home care and hospice."

While it is a positive development that H.R. 5098 is continuing to gain support, as NAHC has indicated in previous action alerts, House leadership informed Rep. Daines that his bill will get a vote if he gets 40 cosponsors.  It now has 13.

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Washington Post Publishes its Fifth Article in a Series on Hospice
Article includes a consumer’s guide that includes data on profit status, most recent survey, patient count, average cost per patient day, accreditation status, and whether the hospice offers “crisis care”

The Washington Post recently published the fifth article in its series on hospice care. The article, “Quality of U.S. hospices varies, patients left in dark,” focuses on the dearth of quality data that is available.  While the article presents an overall negative view of hospice, it also provides a positive example.  Additionally, the article provides a consumer’s guide that includes data on profit status, most recent survey, patient count, average cost per patient day, accreditation status, and whether the hospice offers “crisis care.”

“While the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) believes that guidance to consumers about hospice care is very  much needed, we have serious concerns that the information provided as part of the Post’s Consumers Guide is misleading.  For example, the guide includes data on when the hospice was most recently surveyed as well as whether the hospice is accredited.   Until this month there was no legislative mandate regarding frequency of hospice surveys, so many hospices have not had a recent survey,” said Theresa Forster, Vice President for Hospice Policy and Programs at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. “NAHC has worked for many years to require that hospices are surveyed by state survey agencies with greater frequency, and was active in efforts to include a legislative mandate that hospices be surveyed, at a minimum, every 36 months, in the recently-enacted IMPACT Act (Public Law 113-185).  However, the guide fails to indicate that hospices accredited by accrediting bodies are surveyed every three years.  This failing paints an inaccurate picture of an accredited hospice’s commitment to delivery of high quality care and the ongoing oversight accredited hospices are subject to in order to ensure that they meet the hospice Conditions of Participation.“

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National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation’s Improving Access to Integrated Palliative Care Webinar Archive Available

The NIHCM Foundation’s recent webinar “Improving Access to Integrated Palliative Care” is now available online.

 The event featured the following presentations:

  • Senator Bill Frist made the case for palliative care, summarizing the evidence on patient and cost outcomes and noting that most successful models are patient- and family-centered and rely on value-based payments.
     
  • Diane Meier illustrated widespread gaps in support for the seriously ill, highlighted payer initiatives to promote palliative care, and emphasized that cost reductions require a focus on quality, guidelines-based care.
     
  • Speakers from Aspire Health  described a scalable model for outpatient palliative care, including its approach to home visits and patient records and its impact on advanced care planning and hospital admissions
  • Speakers from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois described their partnership with local hospitals to improve communication about treatment goals and better coordinate care for patients with advanced illness.

Video and slides from the presentations are available on NIHCM’s website.

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