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President Obama & Congress Act to Ensure Access to Compassionate End-of-Life Care for Patients & Families
Date:2/18/2009

One-Year Moratorium on Cuts in Medicare Hospice Funding Signed Into Law

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The nation's hospice community claimed a significant victory this week after President Barack Obama signed a bill (H.R. 1 - The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) into law that includes a one-year moratorium on cuts in Medicare funding for the more than 4,700 hospice programs nationwide. The action ensures that access to quality and compassionate end-of-life care will be maintained for the more than 1.4 million patients and their family caregivers who seek hospice each year.

Over the past year, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the Alliance for Care at the End of Life, and hospice advocates from across the country have been working to overturn a 2008 regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which eliminates a key component of the Medicare hospice reimbursement formula known as the budget neutrality adjustment factor (BNAF).

The phased funding cut would have taken $135 million away from quality and compassionate end-of-life care in fiscal year 2009, and has already jeopardized the survival of many hospice programs, particularly smaller, more rural ones. Approximately 3,000 hospice provider jobs were threatened to be cut this year, with deeper job losses expected in fiscal year 2010 as the funding cut enters its second year.

The effort to halt the hospice rate cuts has been underway since the Bush Administration announced its intention to eliminate the BNAF in its FY09 budget

NHPCO and its partners within the hospice community have been engaged in an aggressive grassroots program, mobilizing patients and their families, professionals, physicians, nurses, home health aides, spiritual and bereavement counselors, and volunteers, that has resulted in tens of thousands of calls, emails and l
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SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
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