Monday, February 22, 2016
by Christian Sinclair
Just a quick reminder that the regular deadline to apply for the 2016 Hospice Medical Director Certification exam is today, Monday February 22, 2016. The cost for the exam is $1100 if signed up by today, but the actual final late fee deadline is March 21, 2016. So save a few bucks and sign up today. The test can be taken on any day from May 19-June 6, 2016. More details can be found on the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board website.
Being a hospice medical director is an important role with specialized knowledge. For those who think it is just an administrative task to sign papers, there is a whole lot more at stake. Working collaboratively with the hospice team to ensure high quality comfort care means physicians need to be trusting yet curious, evidence-based yet creative, available and ethical. As hospice services expand in the United States, it is reassuring to know that hospice medical directors (HMD) have a standard to maintain. The numbers are starting to grow, but we still have a long ways to go in this young effort.
If you are a HMD, I hope you will sign up for this and join the ranks of those who aim for a high standard. If you are a hospice administrator, I hope you talk to your HMDs about certification and provide the right incentives to make the process simple. If you are a patient or family, consider this certification as you choose the right hospice for you. If you are a referring physician to hospice, do you know if the hospices in your area of HMDs who are hospice medical director-certified (HMDC) or board-certified HPM physicians?
Last year had a passing rate of 77% with 200 hospice physicians taking the exam. So far we have a total of 500 HMDC. Yet we have over 5,000 hospices, so even back of the napkin math with 1-2 HMDs per hospice tells us we have a long way to go to get a high rate of HMDC. A majority of hospice physicians do hospice on a part-time basis in addition to primary care or long-term care work. Let's help cheer them on as they work with hospice.
More posts on HMD Certification on Pallimed can be found here.
Christian Sinclair, MD, FAAHPM is a palliative medicine physician, former hospice medical director and editor or Pallimed.