Advocates take Hospice Message to Capitol Hill

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Hospice Action Network and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization hosted its annual Advocacy Intensive on Capitol Hill which included more than 350 meetings with legislators, all in support of hospice care in the U.S.

Hospice advocates with Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland poses with the participants from Maryland after he spoke at the Advocacy Intensive.

One of the primary purposes of this event is to convene a robust and diverse group that could share the stories of hospice with members of Congress.

More than 220 hospice advocates representing over 115 hospice programs across the country held 350 scheduled meetings with legislators calling on them to preserve and protect access to compassionate, high-quality end-of-life care for all Americans.

These visits were part of the Hospice Action Network and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s annual Advocacy Intensive. The Advocacy Intensive, held July 29 and 30, 2013, included workshops, training sessions, guest speakers – all designed to carry the voice of the hospice community to Capitol Hill.

Kicking off the day of Hill visits on July 30, HAN and NHPCO hosted a hospice advocacy pep rally. Featured speakers at the pep rally included hospice champions Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD), and Congressman Tom Reed (NY). Brad Fitch, President and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation provided specialized trainings to Hospice Advocates at the event as well.

Advocates and hospice supporters across the country were able to participate virtually via a live webcast of the pep rally and follow the events via Facebook and Twitter. Virtual participants were encouraged to contact their elected official via email resulting in an additional 800 targeted messages received by Hill offices supporting the voice of hundreds of advocates onsite in Washington, DC.

“One of the primary purposes of this event is to convene a robust and diverse group that could share the stories of hospice with members of Congress,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO President and CEO. “Having good clinical representation on the Hill was a priority and I’m pleased to report that more than half of our participants were clinical staff.”

More than 1.65 million patients, along with their family caregivers, receive care from our nation’s hospices every year, reports NHPCO.

“It is important that Congress know the importance of hospice to their constituents so they can take an active role in preserving compassionate end-of-life care for generations to come,” added Schumacher.

For more information on Hospice Action Network and to see how you can support advocacy efforts, visit: http://www.hospiceactionnetwork.com.

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Angie Truesdale

Jon Radulovic
NHPCO
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