Hospice Advocates Share Their Stories on Capitol Hill

Advocates will ask lawmakers to support advanced care planning and hospice payment reform testing.

Jul 13, 2015, 09:00 ET from National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 280 Hospice Advocates representing 200 Congressional districts will converge on Capitol Hill to call on Congress to support the Care Planning Act of 2015 and hospice payment reform testing as part of the Hospice Action Network and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's annual Advocacy Intensive.

The event highlights the role of bedside caregivers and is attended primarily by members from the hospice interdisciplinary team – physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, hospice aides and volunteers.  As part of the HAN Advocacy Intensive, attendees learn best practices for advocating for hospice and how to connect directly with their members of Congress.

Congressional meetings with nearly 400 offices are scheduled.

"It's incredibly impactful when members of Congress hear from frontline hospice professionals," says NHPCO President and CEO J. Donald Schumacher.  "They share their stories from the bedside and convey what hospice is truly about."

In addition to sharing their personal hospice caregiving experience, advocates will provide information about two key issues that will impact the hospice community.  The Care Planning Act of 2015 is legislation that includes provisions to assist in navigating complex health care needs and address challenges in advance care planning.  The bill was introduced by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).  Advocates will also discuss hospice payment reform testing and program integrity measures.

During the event, the Advocacy Innovator Award is presented to a hospice that exhibits exemplary advocacy efforts.  This year's recipient of the Advocacy Innovator Award is CareFirst in Elmira, New York.  CareFirst has built and sustained a successful relationship with Representative Tom Reed, inviting him to visit their program and maintaining contact with the Congressman and his staff.

CareFirst brings a large team to the Advocacy Intensive every year and is utilized as an advocacy resource for the hospice and palliative care community.

"CareFirst is honored to be recognized as the winner of the Advocacy Innovator Award by the Hospice Action Network.  This award recognizes the determination of our staff, volunteers and board to further the mission of hospice through advocacy.  We thank HAN for their support and encouragement, and certainly for this award," says CareFirst CEO Mary Ann Starbuck. "We would be remiss not to also acknowledge Congressman Tom Reed and his staff for their exceptional working relationship with both CareFirst and HAN." 

In addition to the work hospice advocates will be doing on Capitol Hill, advocates and hospice supporters across the country are participating virtually by contacting their elected officials in an outreach effort coordinated by HAN's "Click to Call" campaign.

More than 1.5 million patients, along with their family caregivers, receive care from our nation's hospices every year, reports NHPCO.

For more information on Hospice Action Network and advocacy efforts, visit: www.hospiceactionnetwork.org.   

Anita Brikman
Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications
Ph: 703-837-3154

NHPCO is the oldest and largest nonprofit leadership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. NHPCO's mission is to lead and mobilize social change for improved care at the end of life, www.nhpco.org.

The Hospice Action Network, NHPCO's lobbying affiliate and national hospice advocacy organization, is dedicated to preserving and expanding access to hospice care in America, www.hospiceactionnetwork.org.

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SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization