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REED’S HOSPICE ACT PASSES IN HOUSE HEALTHCARE EFFORT

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Washington, DC, September 17, 2014 | comments

Tom Reed’s bipartisan Hospice Opportunities for Supporting Patients with Integrity and Care Evaluations Act (HOSPICE) passed in the House of Representatives Tuesday. Provisions under Reed’s bill would strengthen access to quality hospice care and give hospice providers the tools they need to do their jobs more effectively. Reed’s HOSPICE Act was included in the House-passed IMPACT Act (Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act).

“For any family who has had a personal experience with the care that hospice provides as my family has, they know that it is truly irreplaceable,” Tom Reed said. “We depend on hospice providers for more than helping our loved ones, we also depend on them to bring peace of mind and comfort to our families. Strengthening hospice care is something people from across the political aisle can come together to support and improve hospice care delivery in America.”  

“Congressman Reed is an amazing and tireless champion for hospice, said Mary Ann Starbuck, Executive Director of CareFirst of Corning. “In this time of congressional disparity, it is inspiring to see the Congressman willingly lead a bi-partisan effort for needed change. His continued effort to promote quality hospice care as evidenced by his leadership on the hospice components of the IMPACT Act is so important within his district and throughout the nation.  All hospice is once again grateful to Congressman Reed for his unwavering support.” 

President and CEO of the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of NYS Kathy McMahon said of the bill, "Congressman Tom Reed is to be commended for championing the program integrity provisions that mean better care for hospice patients. The bill’s passage supports the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State's longstanding position that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should use the survey and medical review processes to support program integrity and ensure compliance with hospice regulations."

Reed’s HOSPICE Act is twofold. First, the bill brings additional transparency and accountability measures to certified hospice facilities with a three-year recertification cycle as opposed to the current six to eight-year timeframe. The increase in hospice survey frequency means hospice centers are more attentive to the changing care patients need. 

Second, the HOSPICE Act allows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct a review of hospice programs that reach a threshold of patients in hospice care for more than 180 days, ensuring that those in most need of hospice care are supported. 

“By putting these fair accountability and transparency measures in place, our goal is to give patients access to the highest quality care possible,” Reed continued. “We need to make sure families in rural areas like ours have access to all levels of care, including hospice and palliative care. I always want to be working to make sure hospice providers have the support they need and their care remains a choice for patients and their families.” 

While crafting the bill, Reed gathered input from local hospice and palliative caregivers as well as the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization – a key supporter of the bill. Reed introduced the bill earlier this summer with Democratic colleague Rep. Mike Thompson of California.

Last month, Reed visited Hospicare and Palliative Care Services of Tompkins County to meet with employees and hospice provides from the district to announce his HOSPICE Act. Over the past year, Reed has been working on a number of hospice-related initiatives, including the HELP Act which Reed announced at Hospice Chautauqua County last spring.

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