August 21 Deadline to Submit Poster Abstracts for the CAPC National Seminar 2015

CAPC is soliciting poster submissions for the CAPC National Seminar 2015 Poster Session. The Poster Session is designed to showcase palliative care program solutions to common problems. Descriptions of projects should include well-developed solutions as well as a description of the results (outcomes and data). Topic areas include: education; staffing; delivery/operations; data and outcomes; financing and payer collaborations; and more. Submit your abstract here. The submission deadline is August 21.

The National Seminar—being held November 12-14, 2015 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter—will explore opportunities for advancing palliative care in community settings, payer-provider partnerships, ACOs, billing, the pharmacist role and much more. Speakers and attendees will include industry experts from the nation’s leading healthcare institutions. Attendees can take advantage of networking opportunities with the palliative care community to find solutions to obstacles and learn from successful models. Register here for Early Bird rates.

This year’s CAPC National Seminar also offers attendees a unique opportunity to take a deep dive into palliative care in community settings. This one-day pre-con boot camp will explore the development of palliative care in the home, office/clinic and long term care settings. The event will take place November 11, 2015 also at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter.

New York Times: Medicare Plans to Pay Doctors for Advance Care Planning Discussions

Medicare has announced plans to reimburse clinicians for conversations with seriously ill patients on whether or how they want to be kept alive.  The proposal could take effect in January if a final decision is reached by November.

The New York Times article features arguments on both sides of this heated issue. While some fear these discussions will lead to more patients choosing to forgo treatment, others say they would help avoid confusion for seriously ill patients and would give patients and families the comfort in knowing it was their decision.

“We think that this proposal supports individuals and families who wish to have the opportunity to discuss advance care planning with their physician and care team,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, chief medical officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which administers Medicare. “We think those discussions are an important part of patient- and family-centered care.”

CAPC Director Dr. Diane Meier supports this plan however she cautions that without proper education for clinicians—such as palliative care communication training— this plan won’t have the impact it hopes to achieve.

“I think it’s great news that Medicare, the major payer for health care in the U.S., is now formally recognizing that advance care planning is worthy of its attention and reimbursement and that in fact is a way to restore power and control to patients. But it’s not enough to pay for it. You have to make sure people know what they’re doing and are well trained.” To read the full story, click here.

House and Senate Appropriations Committees Approve FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Funding Bills

Late last week, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved bills that specify how much money the Federal government could spend on education, health and labor programs in FY 2016 (October 1, 2015-September 30, 2016). Both appropriations bills would cut funding from a number of critical health programs if passed into law. For instance, proposed changes for FY 2016 include rescinding funding for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) projects, dramatically reducing funding for management and operations of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and eliminating the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). It is difficult to tell what the impact of these cuts would be at this time, but they would call the future of many programs and services into question.

Provisions in these bills could potentially threaten programs that support palliative care but the appropriations process is far from over. There are still a number of steps before the bills get to President Obama’s desk, and it is unlikely he will sign anything that threatens his signature health care law. Interested readers can learn more about the bills at the Senate LHHS and House of Representatives LHHS pages, or see Politico’s coverage on the issue.

Facing the Challenges of Palliative Care: Evolution

OUPblog—a blog featuring academic insights through Oxford University Press—has released another installment in its three-part-blog series on the growth and evolution of palliative care. This article brings readers back to the sixties and early seventies where palliative care was typically positioned as being “strong on care, low on technology” through today where it has grown to become a highly-advanced and savvy medical specialty. This progress is occurring thanks to new palliative interventions being utilized not just for specific disease states, but for the complications of the diseases.

With progress however comes the potential for challenges. As the palliative care field grows and evolves, standardizing delivery models for palliative care across settings as well as training enough specialists to adequately meet the needs of an aging population are issues that remain front and center. To read the full story, click here.




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