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NHPCO Welcomes Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization welcomes Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Her Senate confirmation on April 28, the day before President Obama's 100th day in office, was the final appointment to President's cabinet.

"The appointment of Kathleen Sebelius puts a seasoned leader at the helm of HHS at a time when discussions of healthcare reform and efforts to make significant advancements are at an all-time high," said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.

"Healthcare reform is a major focus at NHPCO and hospice and palliative care providers throughout the country are engaged in efforts at the local and national level. The provision of quality care at the end of life must be a factor in healthcare reform and in her position as Secretary of HHS, she will play a critical role in all matters involving the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services," Schumacher added.

In an address last Tuesday to the Council of Foundations, Sebelius described the need for healthcare reform as urgent, not political, and not optional. She voiced President Obama's commitment to healthcare reform -- a message that was shared on April 24 at NHPCO's Management and Leadership Conference by Nancy-Ann DeParle.

In speaking on the Senate floor, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus cited Sebelius' success in a Republican state as vital experience to building support for the legislation across party lines. "Governor Sebelius' record shows that she approaches problems from all sides," Baucus said.

NHPCO data shows that more than 1.4 million dying Americans receive care from the nation's hospice providers. Independent research has shown that hospice saved Medicare $2.2 billion in 2007.

"While the costs of care must be part of reform discussions, the nation's hospice and palliative care providers want to remind the administration that hospice is also the best care for patients and families at the end of life," Schumacher stated. "The provider community is working collaboratively to make our voices -- and the voices of the patients and families we serve -- heard by legislators, regulators, and the administration. We welcome Secretary Sebelius and look forward to her insightful leadership."

Information about end-of-life care provision is available at Consumer information is available from NHPCO's Caring Connections,

    Jon Radulovic
    Vice President, Communications
    Ph: 703-837-3139

SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
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