Turn to AAHPM for news and information about health policy issues with the potential to impact hospice and palliative care patients and providers.
Learn how the Academy is advocating for the field and how you can weigh in to make a difference. You can also connect with AAHPM colleagues and staff to share information and advocacy resources.
- Review AAHPM's highest priority issues.
- Check the latest AAHPM Advocacy Updates and Health Policy News to learn about developments relevant to hospice and palliative care and ways the Academy is working to advance the interests of members and the field.
- Respond to AAHPM Action Alerts and urge your elected officials to champion public policies that support patients with serious illness and the professionals that care for them.
- Join the AAHPM Connect State Health Policy Discussion Community to share policy news from your state, ask questions of Academy colleagues, and share best practices and resources for effective advocacy.
Health Policy and Advocacy News
Learn about health policy developments and how the Academy is working to advance the interests of members and the field of hospice and palliative care by collaborating with stakeholder partners to amplify your voice.
AAHPM Advocacy Updates
To support members during the coronavirus outbreak, AAHPM’s advocacy efforts have focused on advancing policies that will remove barriers to timely, safe patient care and protect clinicians on the front lines of the epidemic.
- AAHPM drafted a letter that was endorsed and sent by the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care (NCHPC), urging U.S. Senate leaders to swiftly pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. It calls out the need for expanded COVID-19 testing, access to personal protective equipment, and telehealth flexibilities if hospice and palliative care providers are to fulfill their professional mission. (03-16-20)
- In a letter to Senate leaders, AAHPM called on Congress to allow telehealth for hospice face-to-face visits during the COVID-19 public health emergency. (03-20-20)
- At AAHPM’s request, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) echoed this ask in a letter calling on the Trump Administration to provide needed response tools, telehealth flexibilities, and other supports for physicians. (03-24-20)
- AAHPM joined the American Medical Association (AMA), nearly 100 medical specialty societies, and every state medical society to send a letter to congressional leadership asking that financial support for physician practices be included in any economic stimulus package. (03-25-20)
- AAHPM and its CMSS partners released a statement urging the Trump Administration to follow science-based recommendations when determining restrictions, such as social distancing, needed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. (03-27-20)
- AAHPM also joined CMSS partners in issuing a statement that urged action by governments and healthcare institutions to ensure safer working conditions for health professionals on the frontlines of patient care. CMSS also echoed the American Medical Association (AMA) statement that “no employer should restrict physicians’ freedom to advocate for the best interest of their patients.” (04-02-20)
- AAHPM joined 40+ specialty partners to send a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding additional flexibilities needed as these groups’ members confront COVID-19. We urged CMS to provide payment parity between telephone E/M codes (99441-99443) and office visit E/M codes during this public health emergency, and to provide guidance to Medicare Administrative Contractors to ensure payment of telephone E/M claims. (04-08-20)
- AAHPM joined the AMA, nearly 90 specialty societies and every state medical association to send a joint letter to Congress outlining ways lawmakers should further protect patient access to care and physician practices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including through the advance payment program, Medicaid/Medicare payments, direct financial support for practices, support for residents/students, and liability protections for clinicians on the frontlines. (04-15-20)
- AAHPM joined members of the NCHPC and other stakeholders in sending a letter to the co-chairs of the National Institutes of Health panel that recently released COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines. We relayed the importance of including palliative care content in these guidelines and requested the opportunity to provide this essential guidance, so it may be added when updates are made. (04-30-20)
- The Academy and its NCHPC partners sent a letter to the National Governors Association urging the state executives to work together to ensure that community-based home care, hospice, and palliative care providers are given priority access to personal protective equipment (PPE), and to develop draft cooperative agreements which can be provided to hospitals to help ensure they share federally sourced PPE with community-based providers. (04-30-20)
- AAHPM was among the 50+ specialties that endorsed a bipartisan request from members of the U.S. House of Representative calling on their leadership to advance legislation to provide enhanced mental health resources for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, including to establish a HHS grant program for employers to voluntarily and confidentially assess/treat the mental health of frontline workers and to authorize a comprehensive study on healthcare workers’ mental health. Learn more. (05-04-20)
- The Academy was one 77 healthcare stakeholders that sent a joint letter urging federal policymakers to take action to maintain work authorization for the nearly 30,000 health professionals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, to ensure the nation’s healthcare workforce is at capacity during the COVID-19 national emergency. (05-04-20)
- AAHPM joined NCHPC partners in sending a letter to congressional leaders drafting a COVID-19 legislative relief package, to make the case for including measures that would increase education and training in palliative care, expand rural access to hospice, address PAs scope of practice, reimburse social workers who deliver ACP services, and test a new payment model for community-based palliative care. (05-05-20)
On Feb. 1, AAHPM joined state medical associations and national medical specialty society partners in urging CMS to withdraw a proposed policy that’s expected to significantly reduce state and federal Medicaid funding. The groups sent a letter expressing concerns that the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule would create substantial gaps in state Medicaid budgets, exacerbate Medicaid physician shortages, and undermine vulnerable patients’ access to care. (Learn more: KFF Issue Brief ; Health Affairs blog post.)
Physician Fee Schedule
On Feb. 10, AAHPM joined specialty society partners in sending a letter to CMS expressing support for policies the agency had recently finalized for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, particularly the changes to improve payment and simplify documentation for E/M office visits, revise guidelines and payment for care management services, and add a new visit complexity code.
Federal Research Funding
AAHPM joined the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research in recommending that Congress increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for fiscal Year (FY) 2021. As of Feb. 12, more than 300 organizations and institutions representing patient groups, scientific societies, research institutions, health professionals, educators, and industry had come together to suggest lawmakers appropriate $44.7 billion for the NIH in FY 2021, a 7% increase over the FY 2020 program level. In contrast, President Trump’s budget proposal would cut NIH funding by 7% in the coming fiscal year.
AAHPM worked with NCHPC partners on a response to a Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health request for recommendations to inform future legislation aimed at improving Alzheimer’s/dementia care. The Coalition’s Mar.13 letter details legislative and regulatory policy solutions anchored in access to high-quality palliative and hospice care and emphasizes that care transitions should be driven by need rather than payment policy.
MA/Part D Proposed Rule
The Public Policy Committee guided development of AAHPM’s comments on a CMS proposed rule addressing policy changes necessary to implement provisions of the SUPPORT Act for the MA and Part D programs. In an Apr. 6 letter, the Academy offered feedback on exemptions to CMS’s drug management program designed to identify beneficiaries at risk of substance use disorder, criteria for identifying inappropriate prescribing, and safe disposal of prescription drugs.
Health Policy News
The following summaries of federal policy related to the COVID-19 public health emergency have been prepared by AAHPM’s lobbying and consulting firm, Hart Health Strategies, Inc.
*Resources are updated regularly; remember to clear your cache to ensure you access the most recent documents.
Primer on Public Health Emergencies and Major Disaster Declarations
Overview of Federal Relief to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic
Guidance Addressing Hospice and Palliative Care
Policy Provisions for Physicians
Actions to Expand Availability of Telehealth Services
Coverage and Cost Sharing for COVID-19 Testing
Key Tax Provisions in the CARES Act
2020 State and Local Government Responses to COVID-19 – A roundup of legislative and executive actions in response to the coronavirus outbreak prepared by Stateside.
State Resources for COVID-19 Information and Policy – Compiled by Hart Health Strategies, Inc.