NAHC Statement on National Public Radio Story on Hospice at Home

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

NAHC Statement on National Public Radio Story on Hospice at Home

The Medicare hospice benefit offers a broad range of services designed to address physical, medical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families during the final six months of life. In increasing numbers terminally ill beneficiaries and their families are availing themselves of hospice services, and — due in large part to hospice’s comprehensive and compassionate approach to care – indications are that use of hospice care increases satisfaction at end of life.

“Patients Want to Die at Home, But Home Hospice Care can be Tough on Families” (NPR, 1/21/2020) presents some compelling concerns raised by family members that illustrate the caregiver burden that can be associated with care of patients at the end of life. An unfortunate reality is that the Medicare hospice benefit, consistent with the rest of the Medicare program, does not cover extended in-home care. While these burdens are real, they must be acknowledged as part of a larger crisis that is confronting our health care system and relates to Medicare’s failure, in statute and policy, to allow for comprehensive care that sufficiently responds to patient needs outside of facility-based care. Under hospice, there are limitations to what services the interdisciplinary team can provide. Volunteers are expressly prohibited from providing hands-on care; even hospice aides may not go outside the scope of providing personal care and homemaker duties. However, all hospices, as a matter of course, are required to assess a caregiver’s ability to provide care to a patient, and to teach them the skills that they may need – such as administering medications or suppositories in cases where a patient can no longer take medications by mouth. Social workers and other members of the team are involved on a regular basis in helping to identify resources in the community a patient or family can use to secure care that is not covered by Medicare.

Addressing care needs in the final days of life is a particularly important part of hospice care, and hospices make a concerted effort to have staff available to the patient and family during this time. In fact, the provision of visits at the end of life is one of several measures that can be viewed on the Hospice Compare website and can help patients and their family members make better informed choices about hospice care.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) strongly supports expanding patient and family supports, and as part of its plan for reform of the process under which hospices are surveyed for compliance with health and safety requirements, NAHC urges Congress to establish a hospice-focused ombudsman program to address and respond to patient and family concerns.

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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.

Fight for the Future for Home Care and Hospice!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Fight for the Future for Home Care and Hospice!

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) invites you to join us in Washington, D.C. on March 23 and 24 for the annual March on Washington, two days of policy education and advocacy in the halls of Congress.  

Please REGISTER NOW for March on Washington. Registration is required, but the event is free.

On March 23, the policy briefing and cocktail hour reception will be held at the prestigious Kaiser Center for Total Health, a futuristic learning destination featuring some of the most impressively immersive health-related displays and exhibits in America. It is located a short walk from Union Station, amidst some of the best hotels and restaurants in the city. The following day, attendees will hold their scheduled meeting with congressional offices on Capitol Hill.

Members of Congress need to hear from you, their constituents, so they better understand the unique value of home care and hospice and how public policy can best serve the vast majority of Americans who want to age in place. The change we need will not happen without your voice. Join other home care and hospice leaders from across America in advocating for your patients, employees, and businesses.

Take Action!

Become a home care and hospice champion. Help protect our community — and your agency — while building essential relationships with the lawmakers who will serve as NAHC ambassadors.

We look forward to you joining us in Washington, D.C., where NAHC will provide the advice and tools you need to make your day of advocacy on Capitol Hill a tremendous success.

The Key Issues

  • Patient-Driven Groupings Model – Prevent PDGM behavior assumptions;
  • Non-Physician Practitioner – Give NPPs the authority to order home health under Medicare;
  • Rural add-on – Ensure safeguards for rural patients and providers;
  • Hospice Carve-in – Protect the hospice benefit from Medicare Advantage;
  • Hospice Quality of Care Reforms – Strengthen the benefits integrity.

Who Should Attend?

All home care and hospice advocates are invited to make the biggest possible impact on our elected officials. NAHC is working every day for you, but adding your voice to ours is the key to our shared success!

How Do I Register?

Complete this short registration form to attend our free event. Register here

 

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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.

Important Statement on Medicare Home Health Final Rule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

 

Statement of NAHC President William A. Dombi Regarding the Medicare Home Health Rule Issued Today

PLEASE NOTE: The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) will present a webinar explaining all important aspects of the Medicare Home Health Rule on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 3:00 PM Eastern. Register here.

(October 31, 2019) CMS late today issued the Final Rule for the 2020 payment model, PDGM, including rates of payment that would start January 1, 2020. The new payment model had been finalized in its design in the 2019 rulemaking cycle. The Final Rule offers some minor tweaks in the payment model and sets out 2020 payment rates. The rule also includes unrelated adjustments in other rules affecting home health, including the 2021 home infusion therapy benefit, quality measures, and the Home Health Value Based Purchasing Demonstration program.

NAHC is greatly heartened by CMS’s modification of the 2020 payment rates to reflect a much more realistic view that any behavior changes in coding or service utilization would not occur instantaneously and in full starting January 1, 2020. In reducing the 2020 adjustment from 8.39% to 4.36%, CMS has given the home health community a chance to safely transition to the dramatically new payment model. NAHC extends its thanks and appreciation the CMS for its thoughtful consideration of the community’s comments in the rulemaking process. We will be working with CMS closely to assess actual behavior changes throughout 2020 and to help develop the standards for determining whether future adjustments may be justified.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 requires that the home health payment model reform be budget neutral. While it permits behavioral adjustment to payment rates, NAHC believes that assumption-based rate calculation should not occur because of the high risks of error and the creation of an incentive to change behavior solely to maintain Medicare revenues. Instead, NAHC supports adjustments only after actual behavioral changes have occurred. The modifications made by CMS in the behavior adjustment are still based on assumptions, but the revised assumptions are a definite improvement over the proposed ones.

NAHC supports sensible payment reform. While the PDGM payment model reforms include sensible changes, the behavioral adjustment remains a concern, albeit to a reduced level. There is bipartisan, bicameral legislation pending, S. 433 and HR 2573, that can help resolve these concerns fully. A NAHC “thank you” goes out to the sponsors of these bills as they also weighed in with CMS to secure the important and crucial change in the behavior adjustment in the rulemaking process.

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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.

NAHC Will Reschedule “PDGM: Billing In Depth” Webinar Due to Technical Problems

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

NAHC Will Reschedule “PDGM: Billing In Depth” Webinar Due to Technical Problems

“PDGM: Billing In Depth Webinar Rescheduled for Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 11:00 AM

The webinar “PDGM: Billing In Depth,” expected to be broadcast Thursday, September 26, 2019, experienced substantial technical difficulties and had to be stopped before it began. This webinar has been rescheduled for 11:00am – 1:00pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. As always, if that time is not convenient, all registrants may view the recording of the webinar at a later date or time at no extra cost.

NAHC sincerely regrets the inconvenience this has caused to the hundreds of people who signed up to participate in the webinar and we apologize without reservation to each and every one of them. We are rescheduling this webinar so that the home care community will have the opportunity to participate and learn about this extremely important topic. Of course, everyone who registered for today’s webinar will automatically be registered for the rescheduled webinar, at no extra cost.

We also apologize to our superb faculty for this webinar, Melinda Gaboury and Aaron Little, who have contributed so much to the industry’s understanding of this topic and many others. Both Ms. Gaboury and Mr. Little have agreed to return and present their education on October 2 and we are grateful for their patience and participation.

Finally, NAHC apologizes to Manchester Specialty Programs Insurance, who generously provided corporate support for this webinar.

These technical problems will be fixed as quickly as possible and NAHC webinars will return soon. Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience to all and we promise to do better in the future. Thank you for sticking with us and we look forward to seeing you on October 2.

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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.

Turning Patients into Advocates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

NAHC Summer Backyard Advocacy: Patients and Families as Advocates

This week, the kids are back to school, our legislators are making preparations to head back to work in their DC offices, and the NAHC Summer Backyard Advocacy Campaign has entered its final week, with hopes of finishing strong.

In the final days the grassroots advocacy campaign, we aim our focus on one of the most important elements of the home health care and hospice communities- those we serve, our patients and families. The number of individuals in need of quality home-based care is exponentially growing. Our community of dedicated and passionate providers serves some of the most vulnerable Americans; individuals who rely on home care and services to help them live independent lives with dignity, maintaining their quality of life and well-being. They are our reason and our purpose and why as a community we fight so hard to protect access to the care services they need and deserve.

Our patients and families know first-hand, the value of home care. They often have important and compelling stories to share and can be instrumental in illustrating for elected officials the real-world impact and value of services as well as the opportunities home care and hospice face.

As our legislators make their way back to their offices for the start of the Fall Congressional session, we ask you to:

  • Start a dialogue with your patients and families about the importance of advocacy and how they can play an active role.
    (See the NAHC Conversation Starter Resource)
  • Encourage your patients and families to reach out to their legislators and share their stories – the good, along with the challenges and difficulties.
    (See the NAHC Share Your Story Resource) AND,
  • Invite them to add their voice to our advocacy efforts through the NAHC Advocacy Center

Every action matters. Together we can bring home health care and hospice to the center of the health care debate and ensure all Americans have access to quality home-based care today and in the future.

#AdvocacyInAction #NAHCHeartbeat

Questions?

Emilie Bartolucci, NAHC, Director of Grassroots Advocacy & Community Engagement, heartbeat@nahc.org | 202-547- 7424

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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.

Certified Home Care & Hospice Executive Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

NAHC Statement on our Certified Home Care & Hospice Executive Program

Take Your Career Higher as a Certified Home Care and Hospice Executive

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is now offering you the chance to turbocharge your career by becoming a Certified Home Care & Hospice Executive.

The Certified Home Care & Hospice Executive (CHCE) certification is available to eligible individuals in home care/hospice leadership positions. This includes executives and managers in provider organizations and those serving in related organizations such as consultants, accreditation and regulatory surveyors, and state home care associations.

Certification is a sign of commitment to your profession as a home care or hospice executive. It communicates pride in your work and dedication to being fully versed in all of the areas of executive management required to effectively run a home care or hospice agency.

“I’ve been a CHCE for 12 years,” says NAHC Executive Vice President Andrea Devoti, who began her career in health care as a nurse and eventually rose to run a large home care agency in Pennsylvania for 18 years. “Being a CHCE commands respect because it tells people you have mastered the fundamentals of home care and hospice. It means you have made a commitment to this industry and your career. I looked at thousands of resumes when I ran a home care agency and applicants with CHCE certification always stood out from the rest.”

Becoming a Certified Home Care & Hospice Executive is a simple process.

Step 1. Submit your application. The application fee for NAHC members is $20, for nonmembers it is $50.

Step 2. Once approved, you may register to take the CHCE Exam and will receive immediate access to the CHCE Study Guide. The cost of the certification exam is $200 for NAHC members and $500 for nonmembers. The timed exam consists of 223 questions covering the following topics:

  • Legal Requirements,
  • Financial Operations,
  • Payment Source,
  • Regulatory Compliance,
  • Strategic Planning and Operations,
  • Human Resources,
  • Quality and Performance Improvement,
  • Risk Management,
  • Marketing and Public Relations,
  • Training and Continuing Education,
  • Ethics,
  • Technology Application, and
  • Policy and Advocacy.

You will have one year to prepare for the exam.

Step 3. Once you pass the exam, you will receive your certification materials. Your CHCE certification will be valid for four years.

If you’re ready to join the elite leadership in the fastest-growing part of the U.S. economy, GET STARTED today on becoming a Certified Home Care & Hospice Executive.

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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.

NAHC Statement on Office of Inspector General Report on Hospice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

NAHC Statement on Office of Inspector General Report on Hospice

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) supports action taken in recent years to increase hospice providers’ accountability for delivery of high-quality care, including through imposition of a mandate for more frequent surveys. However, the finding of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) sends a clear message that more action is required to safeguard vulnerable hospice patients. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), states, accrediting organizations, hospice associations, and hospice providers must all address existing gaps in oversight of hospice quality of care so the problems cited in the report are eliminated. NAHC fully agrees that safety of hospice patients cannot be compromised.

While a methodical and comprehensive approach to this issue is clearly warranted, corrective efforts should be tailored (and prioritized) based on the nature of a hospice’s deficiency. The egregious examples of harm discovered by the OIG require an immediate focus on the small number of providers with incidents of jeopardizing patient safety. CMS should employ a variety of methods to address these agencies’ failings, including subjecting them to the closest of scrutiny until they are able to demonstrate the ability to meet quality standards and the conditions of participation on an ongoing basis.

The vast majority of hospice providers are able to meet quality of care standards, but some still fail to meet all the Hospice Conditions of Participation upon survey. It is important to note that virtually all these deficiencies are addressed in short order by hospice providers. However, we believe that some of the OIG’s proposed recommendations may help some providers avoid these issues on the front end, and could contribute to improvements in the overall quality of care provided to hospice patients. NAHC strongly supports the OIG’s recommendation that CMS provide hospices education about common deficiencies and those that pose particular risks to beneficiaries. Historically there has been limited education available to providers in these areas, and information directly from CMS is vital to maintaining a continuing understanding of quality of care requirements. Direct educational offerings also provide a unique opportunity for give and take between CMS and the hospice community around quality and survey issues.

A number of the OIG’s recommendations center on increased public availability of hospice survey data for use by consumers, referring providers and others. It is our understanding that CMS is working to build the capacity of Hospice Compare to incorporate this type of information. NAHC recognizes the value of such transparency and the benefit that this type of information can supply, but strongly believes that such action should only be taken when data from all survey organizations is available for posting, the data is comparable across hospice providers, and the data is displayed in a clear and understandable way.

The OIG’s reports provide all stakeholders an important opportunity to examine ways to create more coherent, consistent, and responsive processes for addressing quality of care under hospice. NAHC looks forward to working with its members to thoroughly examine and respond to the OIG’s recommendations, as well as to work with CMS and other stakeholders to ensure quality care for hospice patients.

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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.