The Palliative Pulse, October 2014

CAPC Presents: David’s Palliative Care Story

David, a devoted family man, is a colorectal cancer survivor who suffered from complications as a result of his treatment. After repeated visits to the emergency room to deal with the pain, David asked for palliative care. His primary goal was to remain at home to enjoy quality time with his family. David’s palliative care team helps manage his pain but also provides psycho-social support for him and his family. Thanks to his palliative care treatment, David is now able to enjoy life at home as he continues his recovery.

Hear from David as well as members of the palliative care team treating him and his family.

Become a CAPC Member in 2014 and Save for Two Years

There are only two months left in 2014. If you become a CAPC member organization in 2014, you will save for two years. In 2015, we will be expanding our tools, training, metrics and technical assistance. As your partner, we want to make sure you never have to reinvent the wheel.

CAPC member institutions will have unlimited access to CAPC tools, training and hands-on technical assistance to help you successfully achieve these goals and implement palliative care principles and practices throughout your organization. One membership fee will cover the cost for your entire institution. Membership is geared to both established palliative care programs and start-ups, as well as all frontline clinicians. Click here for more information and a full list of membership benefits. To learn more about the benefits of membership, please call 212-201-2674.

Data/Experts Say Palliative Care is in High Demand

According to results of the recently released National Palliative Care Registry™ Survey, the prevalence of palliative care in U.S. hospitals with 50 beds or more has nearly tripled since 2000, reaching 61 percent of all hospitals of this size. The number of people served by palliative care programs in the United States has also tripled, due to the increase in the absolute number of programs and their ability to care for a greater number of people living with serious illness.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 12.18.43 AM

“What this undeniable growth means for people with serious illness is that wherever they are in the country, in whatever setting they are in, they have access to the added layer of support they need to improve their quality of life and ensure that their families are well cared for,” said Sean Morrison, MD, Director of the National Palliative Care Research Center in a recent video about the future of palliative care.

In this video, Stephen Berns, MD, Asst. Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, says he and his colleagues are seeing a positive change within their institutions as well, with more primary care physicians taking notice of the benefits this specialty has to offer.

Despite this growth however the data shows that insufficient staffing continues to present a barrier to reaching patients in need. Diane Meier, MD, Director of CAPC, says that in addition to limitations on workforce capacity, lack of understanding of the importance of concurrent palliative care services continues to serve as a barrier.

“Improving access to palliative care for all seriously ill people requires that every clinician have basic skills in pain and symptom management and in communication about what is most important to patients and their families,” says Dr. Meier. To view the entire survey summary, click here.

Help Keep Our Public Awareness Efforts Going!

As CAPC continues its educational efforts to increase the public’s understanding of palliative care, you have an opportunity to help spread the word to your organizations and institutions. For starters, visit our consumer YouTube page to view a series of videos that highlight the world of palliative care through the perspectives of patients, their family members and palliative care specialists of all disciplines. CAPC also recently released a video animation that defines and explains what palliative care is and how it supports people facing serious illness.

You are also encouraged to share our series of informative icons geared towards educating the public of this growing medical specialty. CAPC will be highlighting these tools on its Facebook and Twitter feeds throughout the coming months. Watch this video featuring Diane E. Meier, MD on how you can help spread the word about palliative care.

Palliative Care Quote Book

Hear what experts from the field are saying about palliative care

In the first installment of our palliative care quote book, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Practitioner, Margaret Farrar-Laco of Akron Children’s Hospital, discusses how palliative care respects the choices of patients and families at all costs, and how empowering patients makes her profession a rewarding one.

 

Follow CAPC

Follow CAPC’s Facebook page and Twitter page for up-to-the-minute news, palliative care research findings, original videos and more! Subscribe to CAPC’s new podcast channel to listen to stories that cover pertinent palliative care issues.

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

IOM Report Web Conference Download, Now Available

In an interactive web conference held on Tuesday, October 28, Diane Meier, MD discussed the Institute of Medicine’s latest report in depth and detailed how the field can best implement its recommendations. The report – released on September 17, 2014 – focuses extensively on people with serious and chronic illness and why the current health care system has largely failed to meet their needs. In the presentation, Dr. Meier responded to the results of a survey that asked attendees how they would begin to drive needed change and sat for an extensive question and answer session with attendees.

To download the full presentation and the deck of slides used, click here. Dr. Meier encourages you to use the presentation in any format within your own organization to advocate for improved care quality for seriously-ill patients.

Early Palliative Care Can Cut Hospital Readmissions for Cancer Patients

A study released by Duke University Hospital shows that cancer patients who receive palliative care are readmitted to the hospital less than those who do not take advantage of this medical specialty.

The Duke researchers used a collaborative model in cancer care—a partnership between medical oncologists and palliative care specialists—to deliver cancer care for patients admitted to the hospital’s solid tumor unit. This model, which included multiple meetings a day between specialists, aimed to cultivate collaboration and communication to achieve the highest quality patient care. This model proved effective, showing a 23-percent decrease in the number of patients readmitted to the hospital with a week of discharge. Results also showed that patients were discharged from the hospital sooner and transfers to the intensive care unit decreased.

“The findings emphasize the value of implementing palliative medicine soon after a cancer diagnosis rather than waiting until later in the disease’s progression. The new approach allows patients earlier opportunities to discuss their care goals and quality of life, which is becoming a central issue among health policy leaders,” says the Duke University Medical Center. To read the full story, click here.

Experts Say Geriatrics and Palliative Care Should Work Together

Two articles published in the October volume of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society focus on how geriatrics and palliative care can work in step to improve patient care. In the first article, Is Palliative Care the “New” Geriatrics? Wrong Question—We’re Better Together, James T. Pacala, MD, MS makes the case that geriatrics and palliative care would benefit from working jointly towards their common goal of providing quality patient services to an aging population. Dr. Pacala says however that before the two can move forward together, they must first be transparent about their key differences in order to utilize their respective strengths. For the full story, click here.

In the next article, Focusing Together on the Needs of the Sickest 5%, Who Drive Half of All Healthcare Spending, Diane Meier, MD says that while geriatrics and palliative care are essential to the future of healthcare, they both currently face challenges as public demand for their services increases. She suggests that both specialties focus their advocacy on highlighting metrics that show improvement in quality care, but believes the first step is to collaborate outside of the silo approach.

“We in palliative medicine and geriatrics need to work together on behalf of our patients and families and not on behalf of our practice settings, our disciplinary tribes, or our specialties, says Dr. Meier. To read the complete article, click here.

Contemplative Care Symposium to be Held in New York, November 6-9

The New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care and the Garrison Institute are holding a national symposium on “contemplative care” November 6-9 at the Garrison Institute in suburban New York. Contemplative care is an emerging field bringing contemplative training and skills to caregiving. The symposium is designed for physicians, nurses, social workers, and others involved in palliative caregiving. For more information, to view an informative teaser video for the symposium, and to see the list of keynote speakers, which includes Dr. Diane Meier, click here.

Follow CAPC

Follow CAPC’s Facebook page and Twitter page for up-to-the-minute news, palliative care research findings, original videos and more! Subscribe to CAPC’s new podcast channel to listen to stories that cover pertinent palliative care issues.

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

Dr. James A. Tulsky Receives American Cancer Society Pathfinder in Palliative Care Award

James A. Tulsky, M.D., Chief of Duke Palliative Care and Professor of Medicine and Nursing at Duke University, has been named the 2014 recipient of the American Cancer Society Pathfinder in Palliative Care Award. The national award, presented October 21 at the Kathleen Foley Palliative Care Research Retreat in Park City, Utah, recognizes outstanding achievements of a professional who has demonstrated remarkable innovation and ingenuity contributing to the advancement of the palliative care field. Dr. Tulsky received the award for his work on oncologist/patient communication; being an advocate for palliative and supportive care research; contributing to the field’s growth and direction; and mentorship of faculty in palliative care research. For more information on the award, click here.

Fast Facts Comes to CAPC

As of January 2015, CAPC will host Fast Facts which provide concise, practical, peer-reviewed, and evidence-based summaries on key topics important to palliative care clinicians and trainees, as well as all frontline clinicians, caring for patients facing serious illness. First developed by EPERC, these easily accessible and clinically relevant monographs are designed to be quick teaching tools for bedside rounds as well as self-study material for trainees and clinicians who work with patients with serious illness.

Two Days Left to Register for the CAPC National Seminar

The deadline to register for the CAPC National Seminar is Friday, October 24. The Seminar will be held November 13-15 in Orlando, Florida.  Offering in-depth content, rich networking opportunities and one-on-one access to expert faculty, attendees will learn from real-world examples of development and sustainability. Participants will also have the opportunity to hear from notable plenary speakers, including Senator William H. Frist, Sister Carol Keehan, DC, RN, MS, Diane E. Meier, MD, Graeme Rocker, MD and David Weissman, MD. For more information and to register, click here.

CAPC Announces Upcoming Training Dates for Palliative Care Leadership Centers™

New dates have been announced for Palliative Care Leadership Centers ™ (PCLC), which provide intensive, operational hands-on training and yearlong mentoring for palliative care programs at every stage of development and growth. Established by CAPC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, PCLC has trained almost half of the nation’s hospital palliative care programs. For programs in their infancy, PCLC training will result in less ramp-up time and a more efficient, cost-effective program. For active programs, the PCLC curriculum will help ensure sustainability and growth. To view the full list of locations and dates, click here.

 

 

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

Discover the Many Benefits of CAPC Membership

CAPC wants to continue to support your efforts as a collaborative partner. As of 2015, CAPC member institutions will have unlimited access to CAPC tools, training and hands-on technical assistance to help you successfully implement palliative care principles and practices throughout your organization.

We hope you will join us. If you become a member organization in 2014, you will save for two years. Membership is geared to both established palliative care programs and start-ups, as well as all frontline clinicians. Click here for more information and a full list of membership benefits. To learn more about the benefits of membership, please call 212-201-2674.

CAPC National Seminar Registration Deadline Extended to October 24

The deadline to register for the CAPC National Seminar has been extended to Friday, October 24. The seminar will be held November 13-15 in Orlando, Florida.  Offering in-depth content, rich networking opportunities and one-on-one access to expert faculty, attendees will learn from real-world examples of development and sustainability.

Participants will also have the opportunity to hear from notable plenary speakers, including Senator William H. Frist, Sister Carol Keehan, DC, RN, MS, Diane E. Meier, MD, Graeme Rocker, MD and David Weissman, MD. For more information and to register, click here.

Take Advantage of the Payer-Provider Palliative Care Toolkit: A reference guide for organizations leading the financing of health care

Thousands have already downloaded this free reference guide and toolkit intended for organizations leading the financing of health care (including commercial insurers, self-funded employers and federal and state government agencies) – and for providers working in shared-risk arrangements. The Toolkit, published by CAPC in collaboration with the California HealthCare Foundation and the National Business Group on Health, defines palliative care and demonstrates its importance to improving value in health care; identifies opportunities to integrate palliative care into payer programs and products; highlights case examples from industry leaders demonstrating what payers are already doing to advance palliative care initiatives; provides tools, check lists and action plans to get you started; and much more. Download the toolkit today!

Follow CAPC

Follow CAPC’s Facebook page and Twitter page for up-to-the-minute news, palliative care research findings, original videos and more! Subscribe to CAPC’s new podcast channel to listen to stories that cover pertinent palliative care issues.

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

Members of NCHPC Respond to Recent Hospice Media Coverage

The National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care (NCHPC) has released a statement in response to recent “unbalanced and sensationalized” media reports seemingly aimed at discrediting hospices and the care they provide.  To read the statement, click here.

The Coalition includes CAPC, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care, the Association of Professional Chaplains, the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the National Palliative Care Research Center, and the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network. Media coverage of hospice grew this week as President Obama signed legislation into law that will increase the frequency of surveys (to be distributed to hospice providers at least once every three years) as part of the larger goal of “streamlining quality measures” for post-acute providers.

Deadline Approaching to Register for the CAPC National Seminar

The deadline to register for the CAPC National Seminar is October 13. The seminar will be held November 13-15 in Orlando, Florida.  Offering in-depth content, rich networking opportunities and one-on-one access to expert faculty, attendees will learn from real-world examples of development and sustainability. Participants will also have the opportunity to hear from notable plenary speakers, including Senator William H. Frist, Sister Carol Keehan, DC, RN, MS, Diane E. Meier, MD, Graeme Rocker, MD and David Weissman, MD. For more information and to register, click here.

Upcoming CAPC Web Conference to Focus on Leveraging New IOM Report

On Tuesday, October 28, Dr. Diane Meier will discuss the Institute of Medicine’s latest report in depth as well as ask participants to weigh in on how best to leverage its recommendations. The report – released on September 17, 2014 – focuses extensively on people with serious and chronic illness of indeterminate prognoses and why the current health care system has largely failed to meet their needs. Dr. Meier was a member of the panel responsible for the report. She recently released a message to the field on its significance and what it means for the future of palliative care.   To register for this free web conference, click here.  For more information, contact CAPC at 212-201-2670.

Whose Costs Are Saved When Palliative Care Saves Costs?

In Health Affairs, J Brian Cassel, PhD, Assistant Professor in the division of Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care at Virginia Commonwealth University, discussed how palliative care can lead to cost savings and who actually benefits from those savings within the “hyper-fragmented health system of the US.”

“Palliative care can make enormous contributions to health care value because by improving patient- and family-centered outcomes, it leads directly to reduced costs, for both payers and providers,” said Dr. Cassel. The factors that dictate who benefits from these savings, according to Dr. Cassel, are payer mix, the form and timing of the palliative care provided, and the specific reimbursement structure for hospitalizations. To read the full article, click here.

The Health Affairs series on palliative care, health policy, and health reform features essays adapted from and drawing on the newly released book, Meeting the Needs of Older Adults with Serious Illness: Challenges and Opportunities in the Age of Health Care Reform, in which clinicians, researchers and policy leaders address 16 key areas where real-world policy options to improve access to quality palliative care could have a substantial role in improving value.

CAPC Membership Organizations Save by Joining in 2014

If you become a CAPC membership organization in 2014, you will save on membership fees for two years. CAPC is expanding. As a member you will be able to take advantage of all of CAPC’s many benefits. Click here to learn more, or call 212-201-2674.

Follow CAPC

Follow CAPC’s Facebook page and Twitter page for up-to-the-minute news, palliative care research findings, original videos and more! Subscribe to CAPC’s new podcast channel to listen to stories that cover pertinent palliative care issues.

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

Book Release: Meeting the Needs of Older Adults with Serious Illness  

In their new book, Meeting the Needs of Older Adults with Serious Illness: Challenges and Opportunities in the Age of Health Care Reform, Dr. Diane Meier and Dr. Amy Kelley map out how the principles of palliative care can effectively address many of the key challenges currently facing the U.S. healthcare system. This comprehensive book provides an introduction to the principles of palliative care, describes current models of delivering palliative care across care settings, and examines opportunities in the setting of healthcare policy reform for palliative care to improve outcomes for patients, families and healthcare institutions. For more information and to purchase the book today, click here.

Upcoming CAPC Web Conference to Focus on Leveraging New IOM Report

On Tuesday, October 28, Dr. Diane Meier will be hosting an interactive web conference that will discuss the Institute of Medicine’s latest report in depth as well as ask participants to weigh in on how best to leverage its recommendations. The report – released on September 17, 2014 – focuses extensively on people with serious and chronic illness of indeterminate prognoses, and why the current health care system has largely failed to meet their needs. Last week, Dr. Meier released a message to the field on the significance of the report and what it means for the future of palliative care. To register for this free web conference, click here.  For more information, contact CAPC at 212-201-2670.

Building a Stronger Bridge to Better Care for People Living with Serious Illnesses

CAPC is continuing to expand its public awareness campaign to increase understanding of palliative care. As part of these efforts, CAPC has launched new multimedia tools on its consumer website, GetPallliativeCare.org, as well as the new Get Palliative Care YouTube channel. CAPC is also working with other health and medical organizations to bring awareness to people diagnosed with serious illnesses through collaborative communications.

Resources include a unique educational video animation – among the first of its kind on this subject – and a series of stories from people who have been helped by palliative care. Also included is the rollout of a series of informative icons geared towards educating the public of this growing medical specialty.

New York Times: Profits Place Treatment Over Humane Care for Elderly

Joan Teno, Associate Director of the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at the Brown University School of Public Health, says that due to financial incentives, the need for older adults to receive proper care for their serious illnesses is being neglected. In a recent New York Times Opinion piece, Teno points to the fact that despite advances in patient-centered specialties such as palliative care, intensive care admissions have increased. She says the cause of this is the medical field not realizing the evolving needs of its older patients.

“Medicare, for instance, will cover a day in the intensive care unit, but will not pay for physicians to take the time to speak with people about treatment options, likely outcomes and goals of their care,” says Teno. To read the full story, click here.

Video Interview: Setting the Record Straight on Palliative Care

Arthur L. Caplan, PhD of the Division of Medical Ethics at the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center recently sat down with Dr. Diane Meier to discuss what palliative care is, how and when it should be implemented and how its increased growth affects the medical field as a whole.

“I worry about driving demand that can’t be fulfilled, because the capacity in the field is not large enough,” says Dr. Meier in the video which is part of the series called “Close-Up” where Dr. Caplan talks with leaders in healthcare and medicine about ethical social policy questions that are current in the field. To watch the interview or to read a transcript, click here.

 

 

The Palliative Pulse, September 2014

Center to Advance Palliative Care Expands Its Public Awareness Efforts

As part of its ongoing educational efforts to increase the public’s understanding of palliative care, CAPC has released a video animation that defines and explains what palliative care is and how it supports people facing serious illness.

The video – among the first of its kind on this subject – compares people facing serious illness to a bridge that needs support. While a serious illness may weaken the foundation, the palliative care team provides that necessary layer of support.

In addition to our animated video, CAPC will also be sharing a series of videos and podcasts that spotlight individual palliative care stories (see Debbie’s story below). And finally, we’re rolling out a series of informative icons geared towards educating the public of this growing medical specialty.

GPC-Badges_badge-013

CAPC will be highlighting these tools on its Facebook and Twitter feeds throughout the coming months. Help us disseminate our videos and icons via social media to ensure our public awareness campaign gets maximum reach and attention!

Become a CAPC Member in 2014 and Save for Two Years

CAPC wants to continue to support your efforts as a collaborative partner. As of 2015, we’ll be expanding the tools, training, metrics and technical assistance we provide. We hope you will join us. If you become a member organization in 2014, you will save for two years. One membership fee will cover the cost for your entire institution. Membership is geared to both established palliative care programs and start-ups, as well as all frontline clinicians. Click here for more information and a full list of membership benefits. To learn more about the benefits of membership, please call 212-201-2674.

CAPC Presents: Debbie’s Palliative Care Story

Debbie is a hairdresser and business owner who was unable to work due to neuropathy from multiple myeloma. Debbie’s palliative care team put her back in the driver’s seat by considering her priorities and addressing the pain and stress related to her disease. Hear from Debbie as she returns to the profession she loves as well as Dr. Bridget Tracy, a member of the palliative care team treating her.

My Palliative Care Moment

“Palliative Care? What is that?”

When Tasha Schoppee, RN and Palliative Care Coordinator at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida, asked this pivotal question, she didn’t know it would change her career path forever. This month’s palliative care moment tells Tasha’s story as a young nurse who “fell in love” with the process of helping seriously ill patients and their families cope with the pain and stress of their illnesses. Watch Tasha’s video:

Do you have a palliative care moment to share? Contact Dan.Altano@mssm.edu

Follow CAPC

Follow CAPC’s Facebook page and Twitter page for up-to-the-minute news, palliative care research findings, original videos and more! Subscribe to CAPC’s new podcast channel to listen to stories that cover pertinent palliative care issues.

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

New IOM Report Has Profound Implications for Palliative Care

The Institute of Medicine released its latest report on September 17, 2014.  The report focuses extensively on people with serious and chronic illness of indeterminate prognoses, and why the current health care system has largely failed to meet their needs. Key areas covered include delivery of person-centered, family-oriented care; clinician-patient communication and advance care planning; professional education and development; policies and payment systems; as well as public education and engagement.

This week, Dr. Diane Meier, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, released a message to the field on the significance of the report and what it means for the future of palliative care. Dr. Meier will also be hosting an interactive web conference on Tuesday, October 28 at 1:30PM EST that will discuss the report in depth as well as ask participants to weigh in on how best to leverage its recommendations. For more information, contact CAPC at 212-201-2670.

Fast Facts to be Hosted by CAPC

Beginning in 2015, Fast Facts, which offer concise, practical, peer-reviewed and evidence-based summaries on key topics important to clinicians and trainees caring for patients facing serious illnesses, will be hosted by CAPC. Fast Facts will remain a free resource, accessible to anyone including non-CAPC members. This resource is currently available for free via the Apple App Store or through this direct link.

Upcoming CAPC Web Conference to Focus on Community-Based Palliative Care

CAPC’s next web conference – Wednesday, October 8 at 1:30 PM ET – will provide an overview of key characteristics of community-based palliative care (CbPC), highlighting its role in longitudinal care across patient transitions. Featured presenter Christine Ritchie, MD, a co-author of the paper, Community-based palliative care: the natural evolution for palliative care in the U.S, will discuss distinguishing features and innovative models, as well as the foundational role of partnerships required to operationalize CbPC. Click here for more information. To register, click here.

Straight Talk About Palliative Care

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Diane Meier discusses why public education of palliative care is vital its growth. Dr. Meier says one of the barriers to achieving this growth exists within the medical community itself where “too many” medical schools don’t offer the proper palliative care training despite its proven benefits.

“We are working to help doctors and other professionals understand that palliative care is administered simultaneously alongside disease treatment. This remains the biggest hurdle the field needs to overcome,” says Dr. Meier.

In addition to defining palliative care and dispelling misconceptions of when it is appropriate, Dr. Meier details how palliative care can help anyone facing a serious illness as well as how it can save hospitals money. To read the full story, click here.

Follow CAPC

Follow CAPC’s Facebook page and Twitter page for up-to-the-minute news, palliative care research findings, original videos and more! Subscribe to CAPC’s new podcast channel to listen to stories that cover pertinent palliative care issues.

This Quarter in Health Reform: Summer 2014 Roundup

By Emily Warner

Greetings, Palliative in Practice readers, and welcome to your September edition of This Quarter in Health Reform. It was a mild summer here in the northeast, perfect weather for throwing another hotdog on the grill and abandoning your commitment to take up beach volleyball.  Seasonal highlights included gubernatorial hopeful Don Berwick’s can’t-fail single payer platform, and Malia Obama’s sweet 16 party at the White House on July 4th, featuring the at once patriotic and precious rapper, Pitbull.

Of course, somewhere in there, CMS found the time to draft up about 100,000 pages of regulations, so let’s get to it, shall we?

  1. BREAKING: The Institute of Medicine, just hours ago, released the report, “Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences at the End of Life.”  The title is lamentable, but the report makes incredibly strong recommendations regarding palliative care: that palliative care should be available to all people with serious illness in all settings, and that all health professionals should have training in basic palliative care skills, including communication and pain and symptom management. Take a few minutes to read the summary recommendations here.
  2. CMS once again ruined some sad 1st year Policy Associate’s weekend getaway plans with its whopping 2,400+ page inpatient prospective payment system final rule. This rule, which was either released on August 1 or August 22, depending on which part of the government you ask, lays out both payment system updates and quality-related updates. Shortest summary ever: readmissions penalties will go up to 3% of payments in FY 2015. Conditions tracked include heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hip/knee arthroplasty; and beginning in FY 2017, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgical procedures.   No palliative care measures are included in the IQRS, though a 3-item care transition set was added.  CAPC continues to work with quality measurement experts to encourage the adoption of measures related to quality of life for people with serious illness.
  3. Next up, hospice policy. A lot happened this summer around hospice and if you subscribe to any of AAHPM’s or NHPCO’s mailings I’m sure you heard about it. First, drugs. This is a bit oversimplified, but in March, CMS issued guidance that required all prescribed medications for hospice patients billed to part D to be rejected for payment pending a coverage determination.  This created heartbreaking access issues for patients, and after the concerted advocacy efforts of the hospice and palliative care communities, CMS backed down from this policy in July. Now prior authorization is only required for four categories of drugs: analgesics, anti-nauseants, laxatives and anti-anxiety drugs.  CMS also ruffled feathers in its proposed Hospice wage index rule in May. The many details of this proposed rule are too lengthy to go into here, but among the issues was a proposed new definition of “terminal illness” that CMS is considering for future rulemaking.  Many stakeholders saw the proposed definition as an attempt to expand the definition of terminal illness, and thus the services that would need to be covered by the hospice per diem, and there was broad resistance to the proposal. In its final rule released in August, CMS acknowledged what it had heard from the field, but reiterated its concern about the unbundling of services under the current definition, so this issue has not been put to rest. You can see the fact sheet on the full final rule here.
  4. On a much clearer note, the Secretary has resigned! Long live the Secretary. Kathleen Sebelius, Warrior Secretary, resigned last spring, and Sylvia Burwell has been confirmed to take her place. Godspeed, Secretary Burwell; it’s only a matter of time before your visage is replaced by photographs like this.
  5. And last but not least, the Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC)—a coalition formed to improve access to palliative care—had a successful lobby day this summer. Individuals from over 20 organizations had 64 meetings to promote awareness of palliative care and of two active pieces of legislation—the Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act (link is to House bill), and the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (again, House bill).  Its efforts resulted in 13 new cosponsors on the bills. Also worthy of note was a PQLC Twitter chat following the lobby day under the PQLC hashtag.  I’m not sure if, technically speaking, Twitter-chatting is a competition, but based on the number of tweets, I’m pretty sure I won. So step aside @ctsinclair and @rfberry, there’s a new tweet-chatter in town.

And this is a health care blog, so honorable mention has to go to—what else— the Apple watch, which marks, with its ability to determine a pulse, one of the greatest leaps forward in medical technology seen in decades. Until now, there was simply no way to know whether an individual’s heart was beating, and if it were, at what rate. This watch, which can determine a pulse at such distal and improbable locations as the wrist, ushers in a new era of symbiosis between the biological and the binary. The singularity is indeed near.

And that’s it for this quarter, folks.  Join us next week for your regularly-scheduled CAPC News Bites.  Until then, at a cool 64 bpm, signing off…

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

(Editor’s note: Health Reform Quarterly will appear in place of CAPC News Bites next week).

CAPC Membership At-a-Glance

CAPC becomes a membership organization in January 2015.  Among the many benefits of membership are Virtual Office Hours for “just in time,” small-group access to field leaders, appropriate whether you’re trying to improve team billing practices or implement palliative care in your ICU.

Member organizations will also gain access to ready-to-use tools and technical assistance for palliative care specialists and teams in all settings; clinical online training pathways for all frontline clinicians that integrate best practices with highly interactive skill-building; operational skill-building for both well-established and new palliative care specialists; free CME/CEUs and much more. If you become a member in 2014, you will save for two years. To learn more and to join, click here.

Deadline Approaching for Early Bird Registration to the CAPC National Seminar

The deadline to save on registration for the CAPC National Seminar is September 22. The seminar will be held  November 13-15 in Orlando, Florida.  Offering in-depth content, rich networking opportunities and one-on-one access to expert faculty, attendees will also learn from real-world examples of development and sustainability.

Participants will also have the opportunity to hear from notable plenary speakers, including Senator William H. Frist, Sister Carol Keehan, DC, RN, MS, Diane E. Meier, MD, Graeme Rocker, MD and David Weissman, MD. For more information and to register, click here.

Next CAPC Web Conference to Focus on Payer-Provider Partnerships

CAPC’s next web conference – Wednesday, September 24 at 1:30 PM ET – that will focus on the successful integration of the Advanced Illness Management Program in the North Shore-LIJ Health System through several different financing models. Participants will learn how North Shore LIJ worked directly with payers to ensure that team-based palliative care in the community was supported and available to those in need. Speaker Kristofer Smith, MD MPP, will discuss the challenges faced and opportunities discovered as he worked to collaborate with several payers to support Advanced Illness Management services to people with complex-care needs.

Click here to register. For a detailed description on the ways in which payers are supporting palliative care for their members with serious illness, download the toolkit, “Improving the Care of Serious Illness through Innovative Payer-Provider Partnerships,” at capc.org/payertoolkit.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,784 other followers

%d bloggers like this: