As the terrain of hospice and palliative care shifts in the wake of COVID-19, providers must have a realistic perspective of the future landscape to maintain their competitive footing.
To aid hospice and palliative care providers in traversing this new ground, Netsmart hosted “Navigating the path forward for hospice and palliative care,” a webinar featuring Edo Banach, president & CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), and Jason Banks, vice president of post-acute for Netsmart.
Through interactive conversation, these industry insiders shared their biggest takeaways from COVID-19 and tracked the path hospices and palliative care organizations must follow for success tomorrow.
How has technology played a role in the provisioning of care in hospice and palliative care?
Without doubt, telehealth is the most influential technology adopted during the pandemic. For hospice providers, telehealth has allowed the Face-to-Face (FTF) Encounter to occur virtually. Banach saw the opportunity in virtualizing this process early on, urging Congress to recognize that, during a pandemic, and, indeed, in most situations, the FTF can be conducted virtually.
While Banach lauds the accessibility and durability of telehealth, he also cautions providers against relying exclusively on its virtual services. “We still live in a very lonely country, in some places a very isolated country,” he said. “We have to use technology appropriately, but not to replace human touch.”
What trends have you observed in the long-term care community regarding transitions of care?
Banach noted an increase in individuals returning to the home, a fluctuation that requires different workflows of referral patterns. This changing pattern indicated the need for a pre-acute strategy, one that doesn’t follow the conventional path to hospice. “The strategy won’t rely on individuals to decompensate, go into the hospital, go into sub-acute before becoming eligible for hospice,” said Banach.
With a pre-acute strategy, Banach argues that more humane, effective care occurs. “Pre-hospice should be community-provided and then that person becomes eligible for hospice,” said Banach. “People shouldn’t have to ride this conveyor belt that takes you through end-of-life.”
Are there any measures the industry is taking independent of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) to strengthen compliance?
As Banach continues to work with the federal government to advocate for the needs of hospices and palliative care organizations, he is also collaborating with the Office of Inspector General and Congress in hopes of developing a bill with stronger oversight for CMS. The proposed measures are “not intended to overburden compliant providers,” said Banach, “but they will catch noncompliant providers.”
In addition to this bill, Banach is launching the Quality Partners Program, an initiative that will work with providers to ensure access to tools and training. After program completion, providers will earn a baseline quality rating of good or excellence. “This system is going to help both providers and consumers,” said Banach. “It will provide guidance ahead of the government.”
Throughout the webinar, Banach and Banks addressed and prescribed solutions for pain points impacting many hospice and palliative care providers. With these actionable insights, hospice and palliative care providers can begin charting paths forward, begin making strides toward tomorrow today.
To watch the webinar in its entirety, please follow this link.
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