The United States Senate passed their version of the health reform bill on the morning of 12.24.09 (whew! Just in time for Christmas). The House passed their version of the bill earlier in the year and now the two will get together for a "Ping Pong" session to hash out the differences and come up with a compromise. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) has put together a side by side comparison of how the two bills would directly affect hospice care and reimbursement.
This is exactly how I like my information - in easy to read tables with side by side comparisons. I've honestly been a bit mystified by the whole health care reform bill. I don't feel so bad about that since it turns out many of our Congressional leaders admitted to being mystified too. With this chart from the NHPCO, I now understand at least one small part of the big picture and it's the part I happen to care most about.
I was happy to find out, for example, that the Senate's version contains a provision for a small trial to demonstrate hospice care that is received along with standard Medicare treatment. This would give the hospice community an opportunity to demonstrate how concurrent hospice care and standard medical treatment would affect a patients quality of life and assess the financial impact to Medicare to pay for both. I would be very interested to see the results of such a study.
The NHPCO clearly states on the comparison chart which version of the health care reform bill it supports for each major topic affecting hospice care. Check out the comparison chart and then visit the NHPCO web site to find out how you can get involved in the legislative action.