Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Benefits to Certification: Increasing the Standard of Hospice Care

by Allison Lundberg

The hospice industry is growing faster than ever. A study from AARP stated that “…for the next 18 years, boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 10,000 a day. As this unique cohort grows older, it will likely transform the institutions of aging…”. Therefore, just as hospitals had to accommodate for the growth of babies in the OB/GYN years ago, hospices will now have to accommodate for the growth of aging individuals today.



What does this mean for hospices? As shown in the 2015 NHPCO Facts and Figures, the rate of patients served by hospice continues to be on an upward trend, as well as the number of US hospice programs. Although there has been consolidation in the hospice industry, an increase of patients will cause the number of hospice physicians to increase as well. There is already a shortage of hospice physicians in the industry, so what will the industry face in 10 years? 20 years?

So where does the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board (HMDCB) come in? HMDCB is a standalone certification board offering certification to eligible physicians. Hospice physicians can apply to take our exam and earn the Hospice Medical Director Certified® (HMDC®) credential. The difference between HMDCB and the ABMS/AOA certification is that HMDCB offers an experiential practice pathway.

HMDCB has 3 pathways to certification:
1. Certification: already being AMBS/AOA certified in the HPM subspecialty
2. Practice: having two (2) years of work experience in hospice during the previous 5 years
3. Training: successful completion of a 12-month clinical HPM training program

With these three ways to qualify, it opens doors to those who may not have the means to currently be certified through ABMS/AOA. HMDCB always encourages those who are able to participate in a fellowship program do so, but it is understood that many physicians enter the hospice industry mid-career, and taking a year off may not be possible. HMDCB seeks to certify all deserving physicians who have the knowledge and skills to hold the industry to a high standard of care.

With heightened regulations, it is necessary that hospice physicians stay up to date and knowledgeable about standards in the industry. HMDCB hopes to relieve suffering and improve quality of life by promoting the excellence and professional competency of hospice medical directors and hospice physicians.

Join the discussion Wednesday, December 9 at 9pm ET/6pm PT on Twitter using the hastag #hpm

 for the latest on the Hospice Medical Director Certification process.
on Twitter for all the latest on #hpm chats.

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You can access the transcripts and analytics of #hpm chats through @Symplur. 

Allison Lundberg is the Account Manager for the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board. 

Image credit: Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Release Date: December 2014

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