The New IOM Report on Dying in America

The publication of the  Institute of Medicine's 2014 report  on Dying in America offers a significant opportunity to elevate the challenges of caring for people with advanced serious illness. Since hospice is the only Medicare benefit designed specifically for "the dying" and so many Americans are accessing hospice hours or days before they die, the issue of timely access to hospice care must be addressed.

By | September 18th, 2014|Comments Off on The New IOM Report on Dying in America

What You Need to Know About the October 1st Notice of Election Changes

By now you have hopefully heard about the changes regarding the hospice Notice of Election (NOE), Notice of Termination/Revocation (NOTR), and processes for identifying/changing the attending physician that take effect October 1, 2014. This blog post details these changes and identifies best practices to comply with the changes.  At the conclusion of this post is a downloadable PDF that you can share with everyone who needs this information.

By | September 12th, 2014|Comments Off on What You Need to Know About the October 1st Notice of Election Changes

What’s New with Part D? Tools to Guide Your Relatedness Journey

Since our last Part D blog, CMS issued the Revised Guidance for Part D, on July 18th, 2014, effective as of that date. There are some detailed, comprehensive resources (listed below) that address this complex issue. The purpose of this blog is to synthesize and recap “what’s new” in the Revised Guidance for Part D and highlight tools for navigating these changes.

By | September 3rd, 2014|Comments Off on What’s New with Part D? Tools to Guide Your Relatedness Journey

Is Your Marketing Ethical?

In May I wrote a post entitled Are Sales People Killing Hospice? that sparked an interesting discussion among members of the LinkedIn Hospice Group. A tangential discussion thread within the My.NHPCO Clinical and Operations Management Group on the use of admission representatives instead of nurses to make the initial visit prompted this post (if you are not an NHPCO member you probably won't be able to access the discussion). Specifically, NHPCO’s ethics guru (not an official title), Tim Kirk’s use of an ethical lens to think about the issue of informed consent reminded me of a perhaps underutilized NHPCO resource – the Ethical Marketing Statement.

By | July 22nd, 2014|Comments Off on Is Your Marketing Ethical?

Ode to Part D and the Hospice Physician

May I be the first to acknowledge that I am certainly not a poet!  Let me also be clear that this is written with the utmost of respect for the sacred responsibility that we elect in accepting the privilege of caring for those at the end of their lives.  However, in the stressful times in which we are living, with increasing regulatory and public scrutiny, burdensome processes (e.g., The Hospice Item Set, CR 8358, etc.), and unclear guidance (e.g., Medicare Part D), my hope is that a small dose of humor might help in palliating some of the symptoms of confusion, frustration and disempowerment.  And so yes, this blog post is ‘related’!

By | July 3rd, 2014|Comments Off on Ode to Part D and the Hospice Physician

Hospice Item Set: Call Your Electronic Medical Records Vendor TODAY!

If we don't count today or weekends, there are only 17 full work days left until the July 1, 2014 implementation deadline for the Hospice Item Set (HIS). This is getting really serious.

I have had the opportunity in the past week to take my HIS show on the road to two State hospice organizations (Massachusetts and New Jersey).  The most important thing I learned from attendees at both 3 hour workshops is that there has been very little information provided by EMR (electronic medical records) vendors with regard to the HIS support that they will/will not be providing to their customers. 

By | June 5th, 2014|Comments Off on Hospice Item Set: Call Your Electronic Medical Records Vendor TODAY!

Fundraising — the Time is Now

For many hospices and other non-profits, fundraising is a “necessary evil.”   It is something to slog through in order to be able to continue to provide wonderful services.  Hospices need to raise funds, but relegating fundraising to second-class status makes securing enough funding more difficult than it needs to be. 

By | June 3rd, 2014|Comments Off on Fundraising — the Time is Now

Out of the Weeds with the Hospice Item Set (HIS)

I love that expression: "in the weeds."  It has entered into the realm of jargon but, nevertheless, it so clearly describes how I have been feeling with the HIS implementation guide I have been writing with Melanie Merriman. Thoroughly in the weeds with the HIS -trying not to get choked, trying to sort through the gazillion details, trying to pull out the non-essential and get to the heart of the matter.

By | May 27th, 2014|Comments Off on Out of the Weeds with the Hospice Item Set (HIS)

Hospice Quality Made Simple (HQMS)

I have been giving a lot of thought to hospice quality this week for two reasons: 1) I am still working on the Hospice Item Set: A Step by Step Implementation Guide (shameless plug, but we are nearly done!); and 2) I am still reeling from the horrific comments about negative hospice experiences in the comments section of the most recent Washington Post hospice diatribe. The resulting feeling is one of frustration and worry.

By | May 8th, 2014|Comments Off on Hospice Quality Made Simple (HQMS)

Damned when you do, damned when you don’t: A response to the Washington Post Article

With a heavy heart I read the latest Washington Post article lambasting the hospice industry for not providing the higher levels of care: continuous care and general inpatient (GIP) when patients need it. Citing numerous examples, and naming specific hospices at fault, this latest investigative reporting by the Washington Post continues its general thesis from a previous article last December: the hospice industry, dominated by for profit providers, is doing a lousy job.

By | May 5th, 2014|3 Comments