A Loving Thanksgiving for All!

As we come upon Thanksgiving 2009, I am reminded of the many examples of love I see and find myself in every day.  Here’s hoping everyone who reads this posting will be surrounded by much love during this Thanksgiving week, and always. 

A recent Email crossed my desk.  It was a compilation of how some youngsters, ages four to eight, define love.  Here’s a response from one young boy named Billy, age four.

‘When someone loves you,
the way they say your name is different.  
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’  

Here’s hoping you are surrounded by people who hold you in their loving care, with your name safely in their mouths.

Written with love and a special thanks for those in the military, serving here in the US and abroad, who are risking their lives far away from their loved ones.  Melody

Growing Up with Pat.

One of my workout friends from The Hills in Austin, Texas is Patricia Riggs Flathouse, a fabulous writer who has a new book out entitled Growing Up in the Texas Panhandle.  As mentioned by a National Public Radio reporter who recently interviewed Pat, the book is a “glimpse into the history of small-town Texas life in the 1940’s and 1950’s.  Author Pat Flathouse shares her philosophy on writing and surprise guest Emma Flathouse, Pat’s granddaughter, gives us her impressions of growing up in the Texas Panhandle in the 21st Century.”  The story is outstanding, and I thought you might be interested.  Also check out Pat’s excellent blog entitled Pat’s Place.

Enjoy.  Melody

Faith’s Update …

In a previous blog posting, I mentioned the fabulous and precious little girl, Faith Bittner (shown complete with a bathing suit photo in shades!), who was a patient at Dell Children’s Medical Center, and whose family was raising money for rocking chairs for the hospital.  As a quick follow-up, check out the newsletter mention shown below from the University United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas.  Isn’t Faith amazing?

Many blessings, Melody

Rocking chairs delivered to Dell 

rocking chairs croppedA note of thanks to UUMC members who contributed to the Faith Bittner Rocking Chair project.  Last Thursday, two trucks and a car pulled up to the Dell Children’s Medical Center packed to the brim with 14 beautiful rocking chairs, many of which were donated by UUMC members out of the goodness of their hearts.  These will bring comfort to parents with children who are patients at the Medical Center. 
The end result?  Lots of love shared by many, and the goal of 50 chairs reached in full.


Healthcare Reform – An NHPCO Update

In previous blogs I have written about the need for accurate information on the ever-changing prospects for healthcare reform at the national level.  As such, this week I wanted to pass along a recent Public Policy Update from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) which might be helpful.  No doubt additional action has taken place on the issue of healthcare reform in recent days and weeks.  Thus to obtain more recent information, please contact NHPCO directly.

Public Policy Update: The Latest News on Hospice & Health Care Reform

Senate Finance Committee Begins Mark-Up

The Senate Finance Committee has begun consideration of America’s Healthy Future Act. As we told you last week, the proposal currently includes additional rate cuts to hospice. Based on estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and projections from the Finance Committee, NHPCO estimates that the productivity cuts will amount to an 11.8 percent reduction (after annual Market Basket increases) to hospice reimbursement by 2019.

We’re currently working with hospice champions on the Finance Committee to craft an amendment which would relieve hospice from these additional devastating cuts. We are working to propose a responsible alternative that acknowledges the cost savings from efficiencies already imposed upon hospice through recent regulatory changes and recognizes the unique health care model that hospice is; one that is patient-centered and based on the people that deliver compassionate, high-quality care at the bedside.

Currently, the amendment is being reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office to determine the associated costs. If the amendment can be structured to meet the Finance Committee requirement of budget neutrality, then it should be considered as part of the debate this week. We will keep you apprised of updates and ask for your help to garner support if the amendment moves forward.

The Committee is currently hearing opening statements, and it is anticipated that the consideration of amendments will begin tomorrow. There have been more than 500 amendments filed, so the Committee will be working through the week, and perhaps beyond.

In the meantime, it is critical that we continue to educate Congress on the impact of the proposed cuts to hospice. Contact your Members of Congress TODAY to tell them that “Two Cuts are Too Much for Hospice!”