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!”