NAHC Applauds Introduction of Expanding Access to Palliative Care for Seniors Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Thomas Threlkeld
Director of Communications
202-547-7424/tom@nahc.org

NAHC Applauds Introduction of Expanding Access to Palliative Care for Seniors Act

Washington, D.C. –  The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) appreciates and applauds Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Deb Fischer (R-NE) for introducing the Expanding Access to Palliative Care for Seniors Act, which calls on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to test a new community-based palliative care payment and delivery model for individuals and families facing serious illness.

“This legislation is an important step forward in the broader effort to more fully integrate palliative services into home and community-based settings. By testing a more sustainable method of payment, this demonstration model would help ensure that providers across the care continuum, including hospices and home health agencies, have the support they need to increase access to high-quality palliative care for the patients and families they serve”, said NAHC President Bill Dombi.

Palliative care is interdisciplinary patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering of all kinds. It is appropriate at any age and any stage in a serious illness, and involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. Despite the proven impact it has on patient and family wellbeing, and its ability to reduce health care spending associated with unnecessary acute care utilization, the lack of a predictable and sustainable payment mechanism has limited community-based palliative care’s development and reach across the country.

Despite these payment and other operational challenges, many NAHC members have been providing palliative care for years, often at a financial loss, in response to a community need. As innovators in this space, NAHC members have a holistic understanding of the care continuum for those facing serious and life-threatening illness and recognize that an effective community-based palliative care program should facilitate timely access to hospice when that level of care is needed and desired. With coordination, an upstream palliative care model and a high-quality hospice program can plug gaps in care and ease a seriously ill patient’s journey all the way from diagnosis through to the end of life.

The Expanding Access to Palliative Care for Seniors Act represents great progress in the effort to advance policies that can improve the lives of people with serious illness. NAHC and our members understand the importance of a demonstration like that called for by this legislation, and recognize that more must be done to fully realize the vision of system-wide palliative care integration. We thank the Senators for their leadership on this issue and look forward to working with them and all of our Congressional champions to drive momentum on bringing care to all Americans where they want it most – in their own homes and communities.

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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.