Sequestration Moratorium Letter
For Immediate Release:
November 22, 2021
Hospice, Aging, and Home Care Organizations Urge Congress to Delay Payment Cuts Due to Pandemic
NHPCO, LeadingAge, and NAHC, Advocate for Sequester Moratorium
(Alexandria, Va) – The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) today published a letter (PDF) urging Congressional leaders to take action to prevent automatic cuts in Medicare hospice payments from taking effect at the end of this session of Congress. The letter, which was sent jointly by NHPCO, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), and LeadingAge, addresses Medicare sequester cuts and Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (Statutory PAYGO) sequester cuts, both of which loom on the horizon.
Citing the “physical, mental, and emotional toll the pandemic has taken on hospice and palliative care practitioners,” as well as the severe financial pressure COVID-19 has placed on hospices—including but not limited to: higher expenses for labor, personal protective equipment, and other supplies; and lowered revenues due to limitations on in-person fundraisers and limited patronage of thrift stores, both of which typically provide significant revenue to many nonprofit hospices in particular—the letter urges that “Now is not the time for reductions in Medicare payments to providers that could further exacerbate access challenges for those in need of high-quality serious illness care.”
NHPCO President and CEO, Edo Banach, said, “The automatic Medicare sequester cuts faced by the hospice community and Statutory PAYGO cuts were built into legislation years before COVID-19. Allowing these cuts to go into effect in the middle of a pandemic would harm serious illness and end-of-life patients. A year ago, we were pleased to work with both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to ensure bipartisan support for preventing the cuts from taking place. Now we are again reaching out to supporters in the House and Senate to ensure these short-sighted cuts can be put off until the COVID-19 public health emergency is behind us.”
Throughout the pandemic, NHPCO has worked to ensure the hospice voice is heard in Washington. Those advocacy efforts have yielded significant results, including $1 billion in Provider Relief Funding for hospices and a previous moratorium on sequester payments.