NPHI members head to the Hill for two days of meetings with congressional representatives

May 27, 2021

NPHI members head to the Hill for two days of meetings with Congressional Representatives

Last week, the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI), the United States’ largest collaborative of not-for-profit hospices, held its annual CEO Hill meetings. Due to the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, NPHI swapped in-person meetings for virtual events with both member CEOs and congressional representatives.

“Doing this virtually is a good alternative to not doing this at all,” said Tom Koutsoumpas, CEO of NPHI. “You just can’t overstate the importance of interacting with our Congressional colleagues. It’s critical.”

The two-day event featured remarks from several keynote speakers, including Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Amy Bassano, Deputy Director of Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), and Marvin Figueroa, Director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Member CEOs also heard from NPHI’s leadership on the organization’s policy agenda, which includes modernizing the Medicare hospice benefit, promoting opportunities for hospice providers to move “upstream” in the care continuum, and reforming the audit system to de-prioritize providers who consistently meet program integrity standards.

“I’d like to thank the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation for hosting its annual fly-in virtual gathering,” opened Senator Jacky Rosen on Thursday, before going on to thank NPHI member Nathan Adelson Hospice for their exceptional work in her home state of Nevada.

Senator Rosen also discussed the Comprehensive Care Caucus she founded, which works to expand access to palliative care, address the health needs of both people and families living with advanced or serious illness, and raise awareness of the importance of high-quality hospice and palliative care for healthcare in general. Megan Thompson, Senator Rosen’s Senior Policy Advisor, would later expand on Senator Rosen’s policy priorities, which include expanding the Medicare benefit and expanding access in rural and underserved areas.

“I appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation,” said Congressman Blumenauer later in the session. “We’ve gone down this path together.”

In a question-and-answer session with member CEOs, Rep. Blumenauer addressed several important issues, including the financial incentives of early access to hospice, the value of telehealth innovation in addressing health disparities, and bipartisan legislation to expand access to high-quality hospice and palliative care, most notably the Patient Choice and Quality Care Act. If enacted, the legislation would require CMMI to create and test a new payment model targeted at advanced illness populations

“An extra week or two of hospice care greatly improves the quality of life for patients and their families under the most difficult circumstances,” Congressman Blumenauer said. “This is a matter of justice.”

Member CEOs also heard from Amy Bassano, Deputy Director of CMMI, who discussed the payment model innovation underway at CMMI, providing updates on the Value-based Insurance Design (V-BID) model, the Global and Professional Direct Contracting (GPDC) Model, and the Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM). She also emphasized the importance of groups like NPHI and its members in driving innovation that supports equitable access to care for patients and families regardless of background or ethnicity.

Finally, Marvin Figueroa, Director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs at the HHS, spoke to members about navigating COVID-19 vaccinations, preserving telehealth flexibilities, promoting health equity, the role of community-based hospice and palliative care organizations in grief support, and suggested greater engagement with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on behavioral health issues.

For more information, please view the meeting and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI) is a collaborative of 70+ not-for-profit, community-integrated hospice and palliative care providers dedicated to ensuring patients and their families have access to care that reflects their individual goals, values and preferences. Representing providers from 31 states and the District of Columbia, NPHI and its members help design more innovative and effective models of care, advocate for comprehensive and community-integrated care customized to meet each person’s unique needs, and build collaboration between national thought leaders, decision-makers, and other healthcare stakeholders to improve hospice care.