HCA, Hospice Members Tackle Priority Issues, Needs and Solutions

Situation Report | November 23, 2020

HCA hospice members convened with HCA and the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) last week for a deep dive into hospice developments, needs and solutions.  

The meeting — our Hospice and Palliative Care Forum — explored key federal rule changes, upcoming demonstrations with Medicare Advantage models, Congressional legislation, state regulatory guidance, relief needs in the COVID-19 pandemic, and corresponding advocacy, among other prominent items.

HCA was joined by Theresa Forster, NAHC’s Vice President for Hospice Policy & Programs, who offered an incisive summary and analysis of major hospice policy developments at the federal level.

The Forum also considered some potential program or policy responses to New York’s nearly lowest-in-the-nation hospice utilization patterns. One possibility: reviving legislation — enacted in the 1990s but inadvertently expired — which required appropriate patient referrals to hospice. Also, more recently, the State Palliative Care Council posted a report based on HCA-written legislation offering yet another foundation for further development. It contains recommendations to promote hospice and palliative care education and clinical competency.

Rivkah Brenenson, LCSW of VNSNY Hospice, presented her organization’s interdisciplinary e-MOLST initiative, which has improved consistent documentation of patients’ wishes, skills training, and development of best-practices for goals-of-care and end-of-life conversations, among other outcomes, in coordination with other settings. The program is featured in HCA’s Hospital-Home Care Collaborative webinar series. An archive of that session is available here.

HCA, NAHC and forum members will be following-up with further discussions as well as state and federal strategy development.