Monday, November 29, 2010

Palliative Care and Accountable Care Organizations - URGENT Call for Comments

With health care reform and Medicare budget cutting being the latest buzz in Washington DC, we need to be very proactive in making sure palliative care (including hospice) gets 1) included in a fair and professional manner  and 2) not let other people narrowly define us and misinform the public who we are or what we do.

But this is going to take some work, you must not just read this email/post and say, "Yeah! People need to make sure Palliative care is represented" and then wait for other people to do it for you.  So go to GeriPal and read Eric Widera's latest post on Accountable Care Organizations and how to advocate for palliative care issues to be represented.  After you are done commenting tell 4 other people about it and then follow-up to make sure they commented.

For some background on this, Eric and I had a conference call with Diane Meier, Alex Smith and Phil Rodgers. Some of the very enlightening things from Diane from her time in Washington was that all of these comments are read and carbon copied ones tend to not get as much value as the original well-crafted ones.  You are not just sending your words into some bureaucratic abyss.

Diane also shared that there will be many, many more of these opportunities to comment to all sorts of different committees and agencies so we should be prepared for a sustained response.  Knowledge of when and how to comment is not always reliable, so Geripal and Pallimed are working on someway to help our readers stay informed. Any ideas you have please share with us as we plan to have a more comprehensive solution in 2011 and will be looking for some input and volunteers to assist.

Some things that we brainstormed:

  • Website to direct people where/how/why to comment along with ways to share what you wrote so others could learn, critique, and support each other. 
  • Entertaining slides/videos/podcasts that help to explain the alphabet soup of the agencies receiving our comments
  • A way to report success to encourage people to continue to writing/advocating
Yes I know policy can be boring, but you may recall that the Medicare Hospice Benefit was once just policy discussion and now look where we are.  And FDA taking liquid morphine off the market was just policy but look what amount of change we were able to evoke.

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