The nation’s hospice community claimed a significant win last month after President Barack Obama signed a bill (H.R. 1 – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) into law that includes a one-year moratorium on cuts in Medicare funding for the more than 4,700 hospice programs nationwide. The action ensures that access to quality and compassionate end-of-life care will be maintained for the more than 1.4 million patients and their family caregivers who seek hospice each year.
Over the past year, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the Alliance for Care at the End of Life, and hospice advocates from across the country have been working to overturn a 2008 regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which eliminates a key component of the Medicare hospice reimbursement formula known as the budget neutrality adjustment factor (BNAF).
For the full press release on this win go here.
In my opinion, one of the greatest resource organizations involved in end-of-life care is hospice. One of those groups is Hospice Austin located in my hometown. For many years I have had the privilege of volunteering with Hospice Austin. Sitting with patients and clients and their loved ones is a true blessing for me. In the hectic days, weeks and months of the year, among the most valuable and sacred parts of my day are when I can spend a little bit of time with someone who is facing a serious illness. After such an experience, my day oftentimes becomes completely transformed in a positive, illuminating and grace-filled way.
While working with Hospice Austin, I have been reminded of the many resources that exist, usually at no cost, which many people never know are avaible. Some of the Hospice Austin resources I’ve come across in the past few weeks are:
Hard Choices for Loving People by Hank Dunn
Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience by Barbara Karnes
A Good Death by Rev. Charles Meyer
Perhaps some of these resources would be of interest to you and yours. If you cannot find these books for some reason, let me know. Melody