Stimulus Bill Containing Hospice Rate Protection Signed into Law – February 17, 2009

 From: The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) Public Policy Team

Today, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which contains a provision to halt the hospice Medicare rate cuts for one year, retroactive to October 1, 2008. 

Since the elimination of the Budget Neutrality Adjustment Factor was first announced in President Bush’s FY09 budget released last February, NHPCO has been working aggressively with providers and hospice supporters across the country to make the voice of the hospice community heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill. We all should be proud of this accomplishment that owes so much to the efforts of tens of thousands of hospice advocates in virtually every congressional district across the nation. And for the more than 1.4 million patients who seek out the compassionate care that hospice provides at the end of life – this is their victory, too.

Later this week, NHPCO President and CEO Don Schumacher and the Regulatory Team will be meeting with officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to review the process that will put the retroactive reimbursements into the hands of providers. Just as soon as we have more details on how this will work, NHPCO will let members know.

We will soon be in touch with providers to share the messages of thanks that should be sent to our champions in Congress. As is becoming increasingly clear, effective advocacy is built on ongoing relationships and well-coordinated, strategic outreach. With that in mind, we will have important information about the next steps in the effort to permanently overturn the regulation eliminating the BNAF. While every provider in the country will benefit from the one year moratorium, we must remember that our work to protect rates continues.

But, today, let us take a moment to celebrate what we have accomplished. And on behalf of NHPCO, let us express our gratitude for your commitment to high quality, compassionate end-of-life care.

If you have any questions about this news or our advocacy efforts, please send an email to advocacy@nhpco.org.