NHPCO Comments on NEJM Article and Emphasizes Position of Hospice Community

June 25, 2009

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — An article appearing in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (06/25/09) draws attention to hospice care in the U.S., the Medicare hospice benefit, growth in the field, and includes comments from recent MedPAC reports. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the oldest and largest non-profit organization representing hospice providers and professionals, would like to take this opportunity to restate beliefs shared by the hospice community and involving hospice care in the U.S.

  • All eligible patients should have access to quality hospice care and the field supports the preservation and enhancement of the Medicare hospice benefit.
  • High-quality care for patients and families facing life-limiting illness is provided by non-profit, for-profit, and government-owned organizations throughout the nation.
  • All providers should follow quality standards for care.
  • Transparency and fair regulatory scrutiny in the field is called for and endorsed.
  • Increased access and awareness to quality hospice and palliative care should be promoted through collaboration and expansion.

The points listed above were agreed upon in a consensus statement signed by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, the National Hospice Work Group, Visiting Nurses Association of America, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Since the inception of the Medicare hospice benefit, tens of millions of patients and families have availed themselves of this unique, interdisciplinary and cost effective approach to care at the end of life. Moreover, patient and family satisfaction with hospice care is extremely high with more than 95% of families reporting their experience as excellent according to data collected by NHPCO.

An independent study from Duke University found hospice to be cost-effective, saving Medicare more than $2,400 per beneficiary that utilizes this compassionate, quality care at the end of life.

MedPAC has undertaken review of the Medicare hospice benefit, as referenced in the NEJM article. NHPCO has stated that any changes in the benefit should be framed in the context of a comprehensive review of the various and complex components of end-of-life care.

More information for consumers about quality hospice and palliative care is available at NHPCO’s Caring Connections at www.caringinfo.org. Information is available for professionals at www.nhpco.org.

    Jon Radulovic

SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Source: newswire

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