Efforts continue to express our concerns for cuts to the Hospice Medicare Benefit scheduled to occur on October 1st.¬†Despite the research which proves our value to those receiving our care and the savings to the system as a whole, we seem to be overshadowed by the Federal budget crisis (even though we know we are part of the solution) and the anxiety over health care reform generally.
Reform conversation continues and, although the public is being encouraged to provide input, little is known about how the “package” is being designed, other than it will cost us about $3 trillion. YIKES.¬† Health care providers are being challenged to come up with that $3 trillion.
My biggest fear is that hospices will be expected to give up even more, which has the potential to decrease access to the best part of our health care system to begin with. Hospice¬†is the solution to the health care crisis, but won’t be available if it’s cut to the bone and unable to be sustained.
Did you know that the average net income for hospices is 3%?¬†That is not even enough of a margin to sustain capital needs and put a little away for a rainy day. Aren’t we encouraged to save 10% of our incomes? How can hospices sustain the level of cuts that are being proposed now, let alone what may occur in paying for health care reform?¬†
Right now, the opportunity exists to let the President know how you feel. He really does care about this issue.¬†Call the White House and let them know that hospice reimbursements should not be cut!¬†Or write a letter to the President, or your congressman, or your local newspaper and let them know how much hospice care means to you.
This is one of the few benefits that has the potential to be utilized by everyone. This is the one benefit focusing on improving one’s life for whatever time remains, and by the very nature of our human existence at some point we will all leave this world.¬†Please help us ensure that the hospice benefit survives for us, our loved ones, and those coming behind us.
Jan Jones is president and CEO of Alive Hospice.