FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|Media Contact: Thomas Threlkeld
Director of Communications
NAHC Response to Ways & Means Hospice Survey Reform Legislation
Today, key members of the House Ways & Means Committee will be introducing the “Helping Our Senior Population in Comfort Environments Act” (HOSPICE Act), which is designed to address concerns raised by the Office of the Inspector General last summer regarding hospice survey performance. The legislation, scheduled to be marked up on Wednesday, February 12, was authored by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA). The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has been engaged with members in both Houses of Congress since release of the OIG reports to help guide development of legislation to reform the hospice survey process. NAHC’s recommendations have focused on:
- Addressing weaknesses in the survey process through comprehensive, uniform surveyor training and testing and through creation of a process to ensure greater consistency of surveyor findings;
- Targeting problem and at-risk providers for enhanced oversight/interventions;
- Increasing the availability of resources (information and education) to support continuous quality improvement for all hospices; and
- Increasing transparency of hospice survey findings that support informed consumer choice
NAHC appreciates the House bill sponsors’ willingness to engage and consider stakeholder feedback throughout the bill’s development. It is essential that a wide variety of interested parties be involved in this process in order to ensure development of the proper set of reforms to effectively respond to the OIG’s findings. NAHC believes that the provisions to improve the quality and consistency of the hospice survey process through required training and testing of surveyors, as well as the requirement that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the states develop processes to measure and reduce inconsistency in the application of survey results will go a long way toward providing the type of care that patients at the end of life deserve.
As the legislative process unfolds, NAHC hopes to continue to work with key members of Congress to refine provisions related to the frequency of hospice surveys and on intermediate sanctions, including civil money penalties.
About National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC)
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is the voice of home care and hospice. NAHC represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice providers, along with the more than two million nurses, therapists, and aides they employ. These caregivers provide vital services to Americans who are aged, disabled, and ill. Some 12 million patients depend on home care and hospice providers, who depend on NAHC for the best in advocacy, education, and information. NAHC is a nonprofit organization that helps its members maintain the highest standards of care. To learn more, visit nahc.org.