NHPCO Urges HHS, Congress to Support Community-Based Palliative Care Demo
For Immediate Release
September 24, 2020
National and State Organizations Urge HHS and Congress to Support Community-Based Palliative Care Demonstration Model
Demonstration model can help seriously ill patients battling conditions such as COVID-19
(Alexandria, Va) – In letters sent to Department of Health and Human Services and Congress, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care, along with over 60 other national and state organizations, requested the development and implementation a community-based palliative care demonstration through the CMS Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation.
As the letters note, there is significant evidence to support the need for a community-based palliative care effort that would lead to improved quality and cost outcomes for beneficiaries experiencing serious illness. A 2017 study in the Journal of Palliative Medicine found that the impact of a community-based palliative care program implemented within an Accountable Care Organization “was associated with significant cost savings, fewer hospitalizations, and increased hospice use in the final months of life.”
The benefits of a community-based palliative care demonstration include improving the quality of care for at-risk individuals, protecting high-risk individuals from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19, reducing preventable hospitalizations through symptom management, utilizing a limited workforce more effectively, enhancing the use of telehealth, and reducing the total cost of care for this target population.
“A community-based palliative care demonstration is especially critical now because it can safeguard the health of vulnerable patients and families against possible transmission of COVID-19 by providing care where the patient lives,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach. “These community-based services provide better outcomes for patients and can reduce the costs of care. We believe the time is right to start this demonstration and continue to innovate how we deliver health care in this country.”
Signaling the widespread support amongst the national and state health care and patient advocacy organizations signing this letter, Amy Melnick, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care stated, “We are united – there is no time to waste due to the devastating and continued impacts of COVID-19. CMMI needs to test access to home and community based palliative care and services for our most vulnerable and at risk now.”
Vice President, Communications