Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hospice Cap - Opinion Poll

For those Pallimed readers wanting to discuss the hospice cap controversy you may be interested to know about a redesign to the National Alliance on Hospice Access website which now allows for more interaction and commentary. The past site was very static and only gave out information and now with a blog as a central anchor the NAHA is posting with some regular frequency about why the Medicare Hospice Cap should be reformed.

So far the comments have been scattered and have been mostly people agreeing with the position the NAHA is taking. I was surprised to see the general negative view towards the NHPCO as noted in this post "Entrenched Hospice Interests Oppose Hospice Cap Reform, And Any Hospice Reform." Dave Daucher writes:

"Why do large urban hospices oppose reform that would improve access, save money and help independent rural hospices? Why does the NHPCO, which solicits dues from over 2,000 hospices, lobby solely on behalf of a relatively few large urban hospices? Why do NHPCO “talking points” say they need to “collect data” and “study things”, when there has been no data collection, no real study and no reform for the past 10 years? And what are the “unintended consequences” they’re worried about?"
Perusing the blog I did come across a CBS News story on the hospice cap from just a few days ago. Tell me what you think about the coverage. Does it match your understanding of the hospice cap? (Video player embedded below - text link from CBS here)



The Hospice Foundation of America describes the press coverage as misleading here. Even if you are not affected by the cap directly I do not think it will be good for the hospice movement as a whole if this divides us, nor if it makes the American public misunderstand what hospice is about like this one of 42 comments from the CBS news site:
I "used" to work for a Catholic run hospice program. The way they got around this was to start upping the morphine doses before the six months were up. The patients that were allowed to linger longer were those who had substantial wealth and paid their own way.
Posted by grammawhamma at 5:17 PM : May 31, 2008
I really hope that is not the perception of a 'solution.' If that is happening, posting an anonymous comment on a website is not living up to your obligation to report inappropriate care. Since I think it is likely a gross misrepresentation of what hospice staff do everyday, I think that is not the case.

So back to the hospice cap...we will have for the first time ever a poll here about a hospice issue.

What is your opinion on the hospice cap?

Look in the top left hand column for the poll. you have one week to vote in this extremely unofficial look at opinion here. Feel free to comment on this post if my choices did not leave you with enough options!

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