Monday, March 24, 2014
The deadline for application for the first Hospice Medical Director Certification Board is tonight, Monday, March 24th at 11:59pm CT.
Surprisingly, we have not really commented on the HMD Certification on Pallimed yet, which is unfortunate because I believe this is a really great step forward to elevating the quality of Hospice Medical Directors in the US. It has been a long time in the making after getting the initial seed funding from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Having been fellowship trained in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM) at a program based in a community hospice (Thanks Hospice and Palliative Care Center, Winston-Salem, NC!), I spent the majority of my fellowship in a hospice setting. Once fellowships had to be accredited by ACGME, they all had to move to University affiliated training programs, with hospice as a partner, no longer the primary. This was an important and necessary step since it helped with the legitimacy of the fellowship and integration into the rest of medical education. But the cost was the potential move to the periphery of the hospice part of the curriculum. It is possible for someone to complete a HPM fellowship with very little knowledge and experience of the administrative and clinical peculiarities of hospice if you have a fellowship that just passes the bare minimum standards of hospice experience.
So I am glad to see this pathway to emphasize the clinical and administrative responsibilities of the Hospice Medical Director, especially for the many part-time HMDs who care deeply about the quality of the care they deliver and oversee. These HMDs are unlikely to do a HPM fellowship, but still are very committed to the principles of hospice. With this certification it may spur hospice organizations increase the orientation and onboarding experience for new HMDs, so that we make sure we are not just pulling in any doctor to sit down and sign papers without any knowledge, skill, or competency in hospice.
So hopefully many more of you beat the deadline tonight to sign up for this certification if you are a practicing HMD. This first wave will be an important one; leaders who can help raise the profile of HMDs. Whether you are a part-time or full-time HMD, I hope you take this test, and get engaged with AAHPM and NHPCO, because our field needs your voice.
If you are taking the test, please share why you decide to sign up, we're curious. If you decided to not take it or wait until the next cycle, please share your reasons as well. If enough of you tell us that you are taking the test, then maybe we'll create some test questions similar to the ones we did with for the HPM Blogs to Boards Review.