Contact: Lisa Sanders
lsanders@leadingage.org / 202-508-9407

February 10, 2020 Washington D.C. -- LeadingAge, the association of mission-driven, aging focused service providers, and our partners, the Visiting Nurse Associations of America and ElevatingHOME, congratulate Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) and the bill lead co-sponsors Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) on the introduction of the Helping Our Senior Population in Comfort Environment (HOSPICE) Act (HR 5821). 

LeadingAge and VNAA/EH are committed to excellence in long-term care and services. Nonprofit providers of hospice care have led the field since its inception, through innovation and as drivers of social change. We support efforts to ensure quality care, and, specifically, to respond to findings as reported by the Office of Inspector General indicating a need to improve oversight and protect hospice beneficiaries. Chairman Neal, Ranking Member Brady, and Reps. Panetta and Reed have worked closely with us, and with the broader hospice stakeholder community, to achieve appropriate oversight as well as sufficient consumer education and transparency about the hospice benefit.

“Even as the hospice field has evolved, nonprofit providers, research shows, have remained committed to providing a robust interdisciplinary care approach for patients and their families. We support the aspects of this bill that aim to improve quality of care and provider oversight, including upgrades to surveys and surveyor education, as well as requirements that will give consumers greater clarity about the care they are receiving,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge and acting president and CEO, VNAA/EH. “However, we cannot support all aspects of the HOSPICE Act as drafted. The inclusion of civil monetary penalties (CMPs) are an unnecessary and overly burdensome remedy for the hospice community in combination with the other elements this legislation provides to improve both regulatory oversight and consumer education. Indeed, given the slim margins of the nonprofit providers represented by LeadingAge and VNAA/EH, we are concerned about the disproportionate impact these fines may have on our provider members.”

LeadingAge and VNAA/EH will continue to work with the Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and with other stakeholders to ensure the highest quality of care and services for people seeking hospice care at the end of life.

Resources:
July 2019 OIG reports, “Hospice Deficiencies Pose Risks to Medicare Beneficiaries” and “Safeguards Must Be Strengthened to Protect Medicare Hospice Beneficiaries from Harm
“Hospice Medicare Margins: Analysis of Patient and Hospice Characteristics, Utilization and Cost,” commissioned by the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation

About LeadingAge: We represent more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we address critical issues by blending applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building. We bring together the most inventive minds in our field to support older adults as they age wherever they call home. We make America a better place to grow old. For more information: www.leadingage.org