The Senate still needs to approve their version of the stimulus package, which should happen next week. Once that is approved, both packages will need to be reconciled and sent to President Obama for his signature.
Are you wondering why funding for hospice care is in the economic stimulus package? It makes perfect sense that if budget cuts to hospice were implemented this year that many hospice workers could be facing layoffs. Simple as that. It was a tough year for businesses in 2008, including hospice agencies. Sky rocketing gas prices hit hospice workers hard since they spend a lot of time driving to patients homes. Costs of supplies increased as well as manufacturers faced soaring costs. Everything from adult diapers to medications saw inflation last year.
I'd like to think that the decision was made because taking care of our dying Americans is the right thing to do, but I fear it all boils down to the dollar. Regardless of the reasons, delaying the cuts to hospice is a step in the right direction and giving hospice programs a little boost in this tough economy can't hurt either.