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Hospice News Nebraska, Feb. 8, 2018
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Events

March 20-21 (Tues-Wed) - 2018 NHPCA "Living a Good Life... at the End of Life" Annual Conference

 

Nebraska News

 

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR NHPCA ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Registration is now open for the 2018 NHPCA "Living a Good Life… at the End of Life" Annual Conference. The conference will be held March 20-21 at Embassy Suites in Lincoln, Nebraska.

This year, join us in celebrating NHPCA's 35th anniversary during the conference! In addition to special anniversary festivities, the conference will feature education sessions, networking opportunities, an awards banquet, a trade show, and a raffle. More details are available online and in the registration flyer.

Register by March 5 to receive the early registration rate. When registering online, members must log in to the website to receive member pricing. For assistance logging in, email KelseyS@nehca.org.

Also, be sure to book a hotel room online or by calling 402-474-1111 and requesting the Nebraska Hospice and Palliative Care Association block by Feb. 25 to guarantee the special room rate.



JOIN NHCA FOR CAPITOL INSIGHTS WEBINARS 


The Nebraska Health Care Association will hold weekly “Capitol Insights” webinars to keep members up-to-date on Nebraska’s legislative session. The webinars will be held at 9:15 a.m. CST every Thursday during the legislative session and will last approximately 15 minutes. Simply register once and you will be signed up for all of the webinars during the legislative session. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinars. You will also receive an automatic email notification prior to each webinar.

Capitol Insights Webinar
Every Thursday of 2018 Nebraska legislative session
9:15 a.m. CST
Register

 

DEADLINE APPROACHING! NHPCA SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS OPEN

The Nebraska Hospice and Palliative Care Association is accepting applications for scholarships to attend the 2018 NHPCA "Living a Good Life...at the End of Life" Annual Conference, March 20-21, 2018.

NHPCA will award seven, one-day scholarships for qualified individuals in the following disciplines:

  • Nursing (two scholarships)
  • Chaplain (one scholarship)
  • Social Work (one scholarship)
  • Volunteer Coordinator (one scholarship)
  • Bereavement Coordinator (one scholarship)
  • Hospice Aide (one scholarship)

Scholarship recipients will be recognized at an awards banquet on Tuesday, March 20.

Applications are due Feb. 16, 2018. Click here to apply.


DEADLINE APPROACHING! NHPCA ACCEPTING AWARD NOMINATIONS

Do you know someone who deserves recognition for their outstanding work and commitment to the hospice philosophy of care? Someone who promotes, educates, or leads others in end-of-life care? Nominate him or her for an NHPCA Spirit of Hospice Award or NHPCA Shining Star Award!

Recipients will be honored at the NHPCA Awards Banquet on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. The deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, Feb. 16. Contact Kelsey Saythany at kelseys@nehca.org or 402-477-0204 with questions. 

 

REPORTING CHANGES IN OWNERSHIP

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) notes that providers may not be informing CMS of ownership changes. Providers must update their Medicare enrollment information to reflect changes in ownership within 30 days. Owners are individuals or corporations with a 5 percent or more ownership or controlling interest. Failure to comply could result in revocation of your Medicare billing privileges.

Resources:

 

NOTICE REGARDING NHPCA NETWORKING CONFERENCE CALLS

In February, June and October of each year, Nebraska Hospice and Palliative Care Association sponsors networking conference calls for social workers, volunteer coordinators and chaplains to discuss common issues, ask questions, and learn from peers. Please note that there will not be a call held this month, February 2018. Information regarding future networking conference calls will be sent at a later date.

 

NEW MEDICARE CARD: WEB UPDATES

To help prepare for the transition to the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) on Medicare cards beginning April 1, 2018, review the new information about remittance advices.

Beginning in October 2018 through the transition period, when providers submit a claim using a patient’s valid and active Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will return both the HICN and the MBI on every remittance advice. Here are examples of different remittance advices:

Find more new information on the New Medicare Card provider web page

 

IDENTIFYING PRIOR HOSPICE DAYS WHEN CALCULATING HOSPICE ROUTINE HOME CARE PAYMENTS AFTER A TRANSFER

Change Request (CR) 10180 calls for changes to Medicare’s claims processing systems, especially the Common Working File to correct the number of days used to determine the 60 days of high Routine Home Care payments on hospice claims. It ensures that the count includes the days provided by another hospice when there is a transfer during a benefit period. Previously, Medicare instructed you to account for this by reporting the benefit period start date as the admission date on your claim in the case of transfers. While this workaround resulted in correct payments, it required you to submit misleading information. The requirements in CR 10180 instruct the Common Working File to identify prior days correctly in transfer situations, so that you no longer need to use this workaround as of the implementation date of CR 10180 (July 2, 2018). Be sure your billing staff is aware of this update. Read more.

 

DOWNLOAD PEPPER REPORT IN APRIL

As listed on the PEPPER Report website, hospices will be able to download their PEPPER report “on or about April 16, 2018.”

 

NEW VERSION OF HQRP QM USER'S MANUAL NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

Version 2.00 of the Hospice Quality Reporting Program Quality Measure User’s Manual is now available for download in PDF format. The measure specifications for the Hospice and Palliative Care Composite Process Measure: Comprehensive Assessment at Admission (NQF #3235) are included in this new version. Refer to the “HQRP QM Users Manual v2.00_January 2018” document in the Downloads section of CMS’ Current Measures page, or click here.

  

NEW MEDICARE CARD WEBINARS

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Kansas City Regional Office invites you to attend the New Medicare Card Webinars. Recent legislation requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards to address the current risk of beneficiary medical identity theft, and to replace the cards with a unique number for each Medicare beneficiary. These webinars will address the new card design, the time frame of the mailings and scenarios, what Medicare beneficiaries should do to ensure they receive their new card, and partner resources to help with education.

The goal of these free webinars is to educate those who serve people with Medicare and their caregivers so they can be a valuable resource on this initiative.

There are multiple webinars so you can choose one that best works with your schedule. All webinars will provide the same information. CMS will host separate webinars and informational sessions for people with Medicare and their caregivers.

Register:

Feb. 16, 2018, 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
https://newmedicarecard021618.eventbrite.com

Feb. 21, 2018, 1 p.m.–2 p.m.
https://newmedicarecard022118.eventbrite.com

You will receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite after completing your registration that will include the login information for the webinar.

If you have any questions or have difficulty registering, contact Lorelei Schieferdecker at lorelei.schieferdecker@cms.hhs.gov.

 

NEW GUIDANCE ON HOW TO UPDATE DEMOGRAPHIC DATA

The demographic data displayed on the Provider Preview Reports and on Hospice Compare is generated from information stored in the Automated Survey Processing Environment (ASPEN) system.

If inaccurate demographic data is included on the Preview Report or on Hospice Compare, hospices need to contact their Medicare Administrative Contractor for assistance. When requesting updates to your demographic data, it is important to specify that you want your data within the ASPEN system updated, instead of referring to your data on the Hospice Compare site.

View the How to Update Demographic Data PDF for further information.

Please note: Updates to Hospice Provider demographic information do not happen in real time and can take up to six months to appear on Hospice Compare.

Hospice Compare Tip Sheets

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is working to make users' experiences finding and comparing hospices more accurate in the following ways:

  • Improving the data used to power the search over the next several months.
  • Working with hospice agencies to ensure that the data they're reporting to CMS is accurate and current.

View the tip sheets for users and providers when searching on Hospice Compare.

View the Hospice Quality Public Reporting: Background and Announcements web page for more information.

 

NEW MEDICARE CARD: LESS THAN THREE MONTHS UNTIL TRANSITION BEGINS

On April 1, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will start mailing Medicare cards with new Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs) to everyone with Medicare. The MBI will replace the Social Security Number-based Health Insurance Claim Number for transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status after a transition period.

You must be ready to accept the MBI beginning April 1. People new to Medicare after April 1 will only get a card with the MBI.

Get ready to use the new MBI Format. Ask your billing and office staff if your system(s) will be ready to accept the 11-digit alpha numeric MBI. If you use vendors to bill Medicare, ask them about their MBI practice management system changes and make sure they are ready. Consider automatically accepting the new MBI from the remittance advice (835) transaction. Prepare to process Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) claims: Ensure your staff can identify the RRB Medicare card; program your system to send these patients’ claims to the Specialty Medicare Administrative Contractor (the MBI itself will not indicate it is an RRB beneficiary). Make and internally test changes to your practice management systems and business processes before April 2018. Sign up for your Medicare Administrative Contractor’s portal now, so you can use the provider MBI look-up tool starting in June 2018. Subscribe to the weekly MLN Connects newsletter for updates and new information. Attend our quarterly calls to learn more. We will let you know when calls are scheduled in MLN Connects.

For more information:

Fact Sheet
Overview web page
Provider web page


CONSIDER APPLYING FOR WORKER TRAINING GRANTS

Through the Nebraska Worker Training Program, businesses can apply for grants to support “the retraining and upgrading of existing workers.” View the program’s goals, 2018 application schedule, and guidelines.

 

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

Hospice of Siouxland Announces Management Changes
SIOUX CITY – Hospice of Siouxland announced some changes to its management team. Read More

 

Palliative Care Notes

 

* “It’s Not the Death, It’s the Dying: Moral Distress in Palliative Care” appears on the Pallimed blog. Author Vickie Leff, a clinical social worker, defines moral distress as “the discomfort, angst and frustration related to situations in which we think we know the ‘right thing’ to do, but cannot due to the situation.” She calls this kind of situation “endemic to palliative care and hospice work.” This includes giving unmerited treatments, overwhelming patients with information, providing care that doesn’t match patients’ wishes, and prolonging dying. Leff explores the issue and offers tips on dealing with this distress. (Pallimed)

* A Geripal podcast features Kara Bischoff, a palliative care physician and assistant professor at University of California San Francisco in the Department of Hospital Medicine. Bischoff reports on research findings about what palliative care teams are doing about advance care planning needs for patients in hospitals. “They found palliative care teams consistently identified surrogates for patients, often addressed their preferences regarding life-sustaining treatments, including code status, and frequently found a preference regarding life-sustaining treatments that was different than what was previously documented before the consult.” At the same time, however, advance directives are rarely completed, with only 3.2 percent completing them and only 2.3 percent completing POLST documents. The podcast is available online. (GeriPal)

* A Canadian study reveals that children with cancer, when served by a specialized pediatric palliative care team, are less likely to “be admitted to an intensive care unit at the end of life by five-fold compared with those who did not receive palliative care.” (OncLive)

* “Understanding the ‘Value-Added’ by Specialized Pediatric Palliative Care Teams in the Care of Children With Cancer at the End of Life” is a podcast that is available online. The podcast examines the value of palliative care services. (Journal of Clinical Oncology)

* Palliative in Practice, a CAPC blog, features an audio presentation by Dr. Kristin Edwards, Medical Director of Palliative Care at Bridgeport Hospital in Connecticut. Edwards talks about her success in gaining referrals into her palliative care program. Says Edwards, “It’s not what I say, it's what I listen to. What are you struggling with and how can I help?” (Palliative in Practice)

* A new study from the American Journal of Kidney Diseases studies end-of-life care for patients with advanced kidney disease in the U.S. Veterans Affairs health care system. The authors found that patients treated with dialysis received more intensive patterns of end-of-life care. They also discovered that if “there had been a decision not to pursue dialysis therapy before death, [those individuals] were more likely to receive palliative care and hospice.” (AJKD)

* An article in the Journal of Palliative Medicine compares palliative care teams at two hospitals. One hospital has advanced practice nurses only model of palliative care delivery (APN model). The other hospital has implemented an interdisciplinary team, concluding that the team model reduces length of stay and saves money. Writing for Pallimed, Brianna Morgan and Elise Tarbin say the study warrants further scrutiny. They argue that the authors consider “a handful of variables” and that it is worth considering whether other contextual factors impact the success of palliative care teams. They point to “gender, years of experience, feelings of autonomy and empowerment” and “environmental factors (e.g. disease-related characteristics of the patient population, systems-level signs of support for palliative care such as palliative triggers),” among other factors to consider. (Pallimed; Journal of Palliative Medicine)

* Medline Plus and the National Institute of Nursing Research have collaborated to offer a new text-based service for those living with serious illnesses, their families, and caregivers who are interested in palliative care. Texting MP CARE to 468311will sign users up for a weekly message on palliative care. (Medline Plus)

* A new study from the Journal of Palliative Medicine concludes, “There are significant unmet data needs for a comprehensive accountability system in serious illness care.” The study set out to identify specific data needs and assess gaps. The researchers suggest, “These gaps can be prioritized and addressed through alignment and collaboration across stakeholders.” (Journal of Palliative Medicine, Volume 21, 2018)

* What can chaplains do in outpatient palliative care? A recent pilot study conducted among 31 patients with advanced cancer looked at the feasibility of chaplain-delivered spiritual care in outpatient settings using the Spiritual Assessment and Intervention Model (Spiritual-AIM). The study contributes to an area of palliative care research, Medscape writes, which has not been well-supported or studied. (Medscape)

 

End-Of-Life Notes

 

* Debbie Moore-Black, a nurse who blogs on Do Not Resuscitate, writes about the slow, painful death of her husband. In “My Husband Was Dying. I was being ignored,” she describes the entire process. In spite of her belief that her husband was dying, she felt unheard about her concerns. Medical professionals continued to offer hope to her husband, and the family spent several years in a fruitless and agonizing search for a cure. Her husband wanted to do everything he could do to live. And, she asserts, medical professionals, rather than being honest about likely outcomes, continued to encourage him to accept treatments. “I beg the medical community to be honest and upright and stop the fairy tales and false assumptions that everything will be fine. False promises lead to more heartache. I’m asking for truth.” (KevinMD)

* The New Yorker has a story about the lengthy journey of Jahi McMath, a young woman who was declared dead several years ago. But her story is not over, and Jahi is currently living with her parents and with nurses who provide care 24-7. The article in The New Yorker explores Jahi’s story, and identifies the legal, medical and bioethical issues that have emerged. (The New Yorker)

* The Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) is taking the lead in a 14-month research project funded by the John and Wauna Harman Foundation. Using the “Hello” game, the project will focus on understanding the needs of underserved populations when it comes to advance care planning. “The project will engage African-American and other underserved populations in substantive, enjoyable and meaningful end-of-life discussions among participants who subsequently take additional advance care planning steps.” There will be 50 events and each host must meet criteria for the program. The announcement explains the project and the criteria for participation, and provides an application to host an event. (HFA)

* Barak Gaster, a physician at the UW School of Medicine, has created an advance directives document that provides a “summary of options for those who want to get ahead of an Alzheimer’s or other dementia diagnosis. With 20 to 30 percent of those over 90 living with dementia, the documents include opportunity for people to consider their choices should they come to a point where they cannot make informed decisions. The document has gotten favorable review from professionals and patients. More details, and the document itself, are available online. (Dementia-Directive.org)

* An article in Connect Savannah shares the work of Dr. Angelo Volandes, a Harvard Medical School physician. Volandes offers education and empowerment to patients by encouraging them to clearly tell their physicians what kind of care they want at the end of life. Volandes uses videos to demonstrate the conversations. The online article is an interview with Volandes. (Connect Savannah)

* Amy Hoggart is a writer, comedian and correspondent on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. From her own experiences with life and grief during and after the illness and death of her father, she created a list of 10 don’ts and 21 do’s for supporting those who are living during the serious illness, or after the death, of a loved one. (Time)

* Dozens of physicians, ethicists and lawyers are urging Congress not to pass “right-to-try” legislation that would allow dying patients access to unapproved, experimental drugs. A letter drafted by Alison Bateman-House, associate professor of medical ethics at NYU Langone Health, and her colleagues addressed concerns. The letter was aimed at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that is currently considering the bill. The over 40 signatories of the letter say, “This legislation sells vulnerable patients and families false hope at the expense of weakening the FDA’s critical role in making sure that all Americans can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of our medical products.” (STAT)

* Amy Levine shares what she has learned from working with those facing death. Levine runs the Doula Program to Accompany and Comfort, a nonprofit that trains and matches those who visit people facing the end of life alone. Uncertainty can plague people, she says, and we worry about saying the “right thing.” She says we often wish to prevent, fix or ignore death. “As illness progresses, loss increases,” she says. “We need help to care for ourselves―our personal needs. We lose the ability to join others, to meet new people, to seek connection.” (Huffington Post)

 

Hospice Notes

 

* “Stay With Me Awhile” is a play based on true stories of vigils held as loved ones neared death. The play is being presented in February in Rochester, Minnesota. Seasons Hospice will participate and “discussion sessions will follow most performances.” (Post Bulletin)

* In a recent webinar, Katherine Arnup, PhD, shared from her experiences as a hospice volunteer and author. Her book about providing care for your parents and for yourself is titled, “I Don’t Have Time for This!” (Instant Teleseminar)

* A recent article in The Virginian-Pilot explores the realities that hospice workers sometimes face when family members want to retain, and perhaps misuse, the left over opioids of a hospice patient. “Abuse of opioids in hospice care – mostly by family and friends who have access to them – is an often overlooked facet of the national opioid crisis, according to experts in the hospice field.” Brenda Clarkson, executive director of the Virginia Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, hopes that Virginia Hospice Bill 501 will be passed, because the bill will allow hospice staff to discard leftover medications. There is legislative and professional support of the bill, says the article. Though there is no data to really know how common the problem is, Clarkson is focused on prevention. In fact, “The Virginia hospice association developed guidelines for providers to mitigate abuse risks.” (The Virginian-Pilot)

* An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on the work of Pittsburgh’s Sivitz Jewish Hospice and its participation in the Medicare Choices Model. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

* Calvert Hospice, Prince Frederick, MD, is offering an eight-week grief support group for those who are grieving the death of someone who has died from substance abuse. “People grieving substance abuse loss often experience disenfranchised grief, or silent grief, which is grief that is not accepted by society as valid,” says an article in Southern Maryland Online. (Southern Maryland Online)

* An article in News Times features information about the work of Cynthia Roy, president and CEO of the nonprofit Regional Hospice and Palliative Care based in Danbury, Connecticut. The article profiles Roy and her work with hospice and end-of-life care. (Newstimes.com)

* An article in Burlington Free Press shares the quest of Jack Griffin, a hospice patient. What Griffin is seeking is a “green” burial spot. But his search has not been successful, and he has found no place where he can be buried quickly and in an ecologically friendly way. The story explains the complications Griffin has faced and describes some of the reasons this is so difficult. (Burlington Free Press)

* The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization issued a press release welcoming Alex Azar as Secretary of HHS. NHPCO will work with Azar “‘to ensure that all Americans have access to person-centered, family-oriented, interdisciplinary care–something that has been a hallmark of hospice care for four decades,” said Edo Banach, NHPCO president and CEO.’” (Markets Insider)

* Phoenix’s Circle the City is a medical facility that cares for the homeless, including those who choose hospice care. A story on KJZZ, that can be heard online, shares about the work done at the facility. (KJZZ)

* Hospices are learning from the lessons of 2017’s hurricanes and wildfires. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's Newsline covers the issue, offering insights from interviews with hospice providers in California and the southern part of the U.S. who endured natural disasters. They stress the importance of knowing if patients plan to shelter in place or evacuate, considering coordination of services and supplies, planning medication needs, and thinking of all possible roadblocks—including such mundane things as tire repair. Every provider agreed that a well-developed and rehearsed emergency plan was essential. “Pearls of Wisdom” include providing real cash advances to staff before a disaster, taking care of staff, planning for those who may lose a home, coordinating with state and local emergency management agencies, and developing pre-disaster partnerships with providers outside your service area. (NHPCO Newsline, Winter 2017)

* The National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care is comprised of nine national organizations representing clinicians from the full interdisciplinary team, researchers, and hospice and palliative care programs. They focus on the “Four C’s”: Cooperation, Communication, Coordination and Collaboration. The Coalition addresses challenges in the field including the evolution of health care and health policy in the U.S., increasing the number of benefit recipients, achieving innovative designs to meet needs, addressing misconceptions, and creating new resources for those in the field. (NHPCO Newsline, Winter 2017)

* The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will allow non-skilled home health care support as a supplementary benefit in Medicare Advantage plans beginning in 2019. “Our priority is to ensure that our seniors have more choices and lower premiums in their Medicare health and drug plans,” writes CMS Administrator Seema Verma, emphasizing the benefits of flexible plans. The change hopes to “compensate for physical impairments, diminish the impact of injuries or health conditions, and/or reduce avoidable emergency room utilization.” The announcement does not explicitly include plans to include hospice benefits as supplemental benefits, but the article notes the idea was “floated late last year” and this new change could signify more changes to come. (Home Health Care News)

* Garth Brooks performed “If Tomorrow Never Comes” along with co-writer Kent Blazy at an iconic Tennessee cafe to benefit Alive Hospice. The performance coincided with the song’s 30th anniversary. (WKRN)

* A National Consensus Project Stakeholder Summit Summary Report, available for download, captures key themes, considerations and ideas discussed during the Summit, held in June 2017. The summit hosted 58 representatives from 43 national and regional organizations from a range of care settings, provider associations, accrediting bodies, payers and community service organizations. View the report here. (NCHPC)

 

Other Notes

 

* Associations Now shares the story of a literal wall that was built and displayed at last year’s AAHPM and HPNA meeting. In spite of the use of virtual communications, the wall served as a place for participants to write notes on the “I Am” wall. Participants posted “I am…” statements that shared more about personal information and beliefs. The wall was a constant reminder of the diversity of the participants. The wall became “an impromptu meeting point during the conference.” The messages on the wall, some of which were deeply personal, created conversation—much of it through tweets and other social media. (Associations Now)

* President Trump has signed the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act into law. The law will lead to the naming a family caregiving advisory council that will study, support and strengthen family caregivers. (Congress.gov)

* C-TAC Innovations is the service affiliate of C-TAC. “The first multi-provider collaborative for those with advanced illness in Florida has been launched in consultation with C-TAC Innovations in the St. Augustine area. Flagler Hospital, First Coast Health Alliance, and Alivia Care announced the Flagler Advanced Care Services (FACS) program, designed to improve the quality of care for people with serious and late-stage chronic illnesses while honoring their values and personal care goals.” (C-TAC)

* Apple has announced their plan to offer electronic medical records, bringing together records and providing a fuller snapshot of health. The iOS 11.3 release will debut these expansions in a Health Records section of the Health app that comes pre-installed. “Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine and other participating hospitals and clinics are among the first to make this beta feature available to their patients,” Apple writes. Dr. Paul Sax suggests that Apple begin by building a universal immunization record. (NEJM)

* Amazon, J.P. Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway announced that they intend to form an independent health care company, but offered few details. To David Vivero, CEO of the digital health startup Amino, the news “proves every business is a health care business,” as the companies’ unique incentives and influence highlight how pervasive health care challenges are to employers. With few details and similar claims of health care involvement being circulated in the past, the article says that the health care industry “isn’t holding its breath” on immediate market disruptions. (Healthcare Dive)

* Yale University Assistant Professor and health economist Zack Cooper responded on Twitter to the news that Amazon, JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway aim to form a new health care company. He writes, “I do hope Amazon, JP Morgan, & Berkshire succeed. Health care is wildly inefficient. However, it’s a bit like Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Partners Health coming out and saying they don’t like their computers so they’re going to form a new IT company.” (Twitter)

* Scrapbooking can serve as a way to share, remember, and help loved ones cope with grief. Excela Health Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant launched its scrapbooking bereavement group in April, which they say allows people to be creative and take away tangible projects. (Herald-Standard)

* “This is the wrong way to deal with the opioid epidemic,” writes Jeffrey A. Singer for Newsweek. He examines the passage of The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act in late January, passed only three days after it was introduced. This means it was passed without testimony from medical professionals and experts. “Among the harmful features of the Act,” he says, “are strict restrictions on the amount and dose of opioids doctors can prescribe to new and postoperative patients.” Singer says this approach isn’t “just inhumane, it’s dangerous” because patients will turn to illegal markets or other drugs for relief. “This sloppy, ill-conceived, and hasty piece of legislation is best understood as a bipartisan act of political grandstanding by the governor and the Legislature in a year when the governor and most lawmakers are up for re-election. They have until 2019 to fix it before its harmful effects begin to appear.” (Newsweek)

* Over 90 bipartisan Senators and Congressional leaders sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration calling for their attention to drug shortages related to the impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is the home of about 80 pharmaceutical companies, and these companies manufacture about 10 percent of all drugs that Americans consume. “The lack of medicines and medical supplies since Maria devastated Puerto Rico is creating immense anxiety for hospitals, providers, and, most importantly, the patients they serve,” say the authors of the letter. The leaders call on the FDA to answer a number of questions and to work on resolution of this concern. (U.S. Senate)

 

HOSPICES ENCOURAGED TO 'BECOME MORE MAINSTREAM'

As research continues to demonstrate that too many hospice patients receive care too late in life, one hospice leader calls for a cultural shift “to make end-of-life care more ‘mainstream.’” Corina Tracy has served in numerous roles in hospices. She currently serves as executive vice president and COO of Compassus, based in Tennessee. Home Health Care News posted a recent interview with Tracy, which was conducted and written by Carlo Calma. Read More

 

WHAT RESEARCHERS LEARNED FROM HOSPICE PATIENTS ABOUT WISDOM

What is wisdom? And how to patients living in the last six months of life describe the core characteristics of wisdom? And do they believe that their terminal illnesses have changed or impacted their understanding of wisdom? Seeking these answers was the work of researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, who interviewed 21 hospice patients, ages 48 to 97. Read More

 

END-OF-LIFE CARE AND PSYCHEDELICS EXPERIENCING AN EVOLVING RELATIONSHIP

Palliative care researcher Dr. Ira Byock’s “Taking Psychedelics Seriously” is a study that appears in the Journal of Palliative Medicine. He says there is an expanding base of evidence regarding the safety and benefits of psychedelics. But issues like politics, regulation and industry create challenges for legitimate use of psychedelics. Still, right-to-try laws in multiple states provide precedents for terminally ill patients to access treatments that have not yet gained FDA approval. Dr. Byock argues that, given the prevalence of suffering and growing acceptance of physician-hastened death, it’s time to revisit the research into therapeutic use of psychedelics that began in the 1950s and 1960s. Read More

 

Thanks to Brenda Clarkson and Don Pendley for contributions. 


Hospice Analytics is the national sponsor of Hospice News Network for 2018. Hospice Analytics is an information-sharing research organization whose mission is to improve hospice utilization and access to quality end-of- life care. For additional information, please call Dr. Cordt Kassner, CEO, at 719-209- 1237 or see www.HospiceAnalytics.com.

Hospice News Network is published 45-46 times a year. Copyright, 2018. All rights reserved to HNN subscribers, who may distribute HNN, in whole or part, to provider members of the subscribers’ state organizations. If readers need further information, they should consult the original source or call their state association office. HNN exists to provide summaries of local, state and national news coverage of issues that are of interest to hospice leaders. HNN disclaims all liability for validity of the information. The information in HNN is compiled from numerous sources and people who access information from HNN should also research original sources. The information in HNN is not exhaustive and HNN makes no warranty as to the reliability, accuracy, timeliness, usefulness or completeness of the information. HNN does not and cannot research the communications and materials shared and is not responsible for the content. If any reader feels that the original source is not accurate, HNN welcomes letters to the editor that may be shared with HNN readers. The views and opinions expressed by HNN articles and notes are not intended to and do not necessarily reflect views and opinions of HNN, the editor, or contributors. Only subscribing state hospice organizations have rights to distribute HNN and all subscribers understand and agree to the terms stated here.