Give Your Input on the Proposed Medicare End of Life Payment Rule

As you may already know, CMS is proposing to pay physicians to engage in end-of-life care conversations with Medicare patients!

This is, of course, a potentially huge leap for advance care planning. Please add your voice regarding the proposed rule no later than Sept. 8, 2015, at 5pm, Eastern.

There are two ways to comment:
(1) electronically: Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2016 or
(2) mail: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, CMS-1612-P 2, Attention: CMS-1631-P, P.O. Box 8013, Baltimore, MD, 21244-8013.

Thank you for your participation!


Spirituality Tip Sheets

We have just created spirituality tip sheets for your benefit, thanks to support from the NHCCC. The two-sided sheet is packed with information including:

  • How to tell if your patient is under spiritual duress
  • A spiritual assessment tool to help you talk to patients about their spirituality
  • When to consider a pastoral care referral

Click here to view the sheet, and click here to order laminated cards, all proceeds of which support NHHPCO!


2015 Board of Directors Election Results

The votes are in and we are delighted to announce the following new board members, who now begin their first three year term:

  • Andrea Patrick-Baudet, RN, CHPN, CHPCA, Hospice Director, Cornerstone VNA
  • Karen Coy, RN, Hospice Director, Northwoods Home Health & Hospice
  • Rev. Mary Francis Drake, MA, MSW, LICSW, AHPC-SW, Hospice Chaplain, Bereavement Counselor, and Volunteer Coordinator
  • John Getts, President/CEO, Home Health & Hospice Care
NHHPCO 2015 Board Members

L-R: front row: Sandra Knowlton-Soho, Karen Coy, Mary Francis Drake, Carla Braveman

Back row: Andrea Patrick-Baudet, Andrew Kleiner, April Bartley, Janice McDermott, John Getts


Visit our Board of Directors page for a complete listing of board members, along with executive board positions.


Congrats to NHHPCO Members!

Hyder Family Hospice, considered by many to be a "home away from home", has officially announced it is reopening at the end of July, 2015. The hospice house was forced to shut last year after its former owner, Amedisys Home Health Services, ran into financial issues.

Operating under Strafford Country's ownership as a nonprofit and being on county-owned land has provided several cost-cutting measures. Additionally, the hospice will now offer open admission - meaning guests who are working through any hospice provider may be eligible to stay there.

"We're not here to make a profit," said George Maglaras, chairman of the Strafford County Commission. "This is about dying with dignity. We're here to provide a needed service to people."

The hospice house will begin by opening one wing, but Maglaras is confident every bed will be full within two months.

"To me, there's no greater gift you can give someone than to help them leave this world," said Liz George, a member of Hyder family.

Congratulations also to Beacon Hospice, an Amedisys company in Portsmouth, which has announced that it is the first hospice in New Hampshire to achieve Level 4 status with the We Honor Veterans Program.

We Honor Veterans is a national initiative sponsored by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) to better serve veterans who are receiving end-of-life care. Veterans often carry experiences from their service that present unique challenges, and unfortunately, many of them may not know about or have access to hospice or palliative care. NHPCO's We Honor Veterans program provides hospices across the country tools and resources that allow them to access veteran-specific educational resources for their staff. For more on this program and a list of other NHHPCO member rankings visit our Veterans page. Well done on this important achievement!


NHPCO Prognosis Video

Jennifer Kennedy of NHPCO has provided us with a video and PDF detailing hospice prognosis procedures.


NH participates in national observance to make advance health care decisions

A new study released today by the Foundation for Healthy Communities found that only 37 percent (506) of 1,363 patients’ medical records reviewed in 25 acute care hospitals had documentation identifying who they would want to make decisions for them if they lacked the capacity to do so.

The Foundation for Healthy Communities and many other organizations in New Hampshire will observe “National Healthcare Decisions Day” on April 16th in an effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare directives. Governor Maggie Hassen issued a proclamation recognizing April 16, 2015, as HEALTHCARE DECISIONS DAY in New Hampshire. “National Healthcare Decisions Day is a reminder to talk with family or friends about your wishes in the event of a medical crisis,” said Shawn LaFrance, executive director of the Foundation for Healthy Communities. “Conversations and completion of an advance directive allows you to decide who will make your health care decisions if you lack the capacity to do so.”

In a related study involving 319 patients from nine hospice programs in in the state, the NH Hospice and Palliative Care Organization found that 84 percent of the patients surveyed had an advance directive when admitted into hospice.

“The focus of National Healthcare Decisions Day is on education,” LaFrance added. “Its aim is to increase the number of people who understand the importance of advance care directives and planning for serious illness or end-of-life care. The Foundation for Healthy Communities provides information to help people address the topic with family, friends and healthcare providers and complete a written advance directive, such as healthcare power of attorney and a living will, in accordance with New Hampshire law.” The Foundation’s advance care planning guide and a brief education video are available free of charge online at www.healthynh.com.

The Foundation for Healthy Communities is a nonprofit corporation that exists to improve health and health care in NH communities through partnerships that engage individuals and organizations.


Stay on top of your game with our webinars!

Visit our Professional Development page for more details.

Developing Best Practices in Billing and Coding for Providers in Hospice and Palliative Care

23 July, 2015
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern 
Audio Recording Available

In this presentation, we will equip the learner with best practices regarding billing and coding. We will discuss the triggers for audits, the difference between billing under complexity versus time, the use of prolonged service codes, and nuances related to hospice and palliative care. We will discuss some of the common pitfalls that occur and discuss why it’s importance to have a compliance program. Nurse practitioner and physician assistant billing will also be covered, as well as the nuances related to our field.

Register today!
Visit our Professional Development page for specific course objectives and more details.


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