Hospice community to provide input on reform

President-elect Obama has indicated that health care reform will be a top priority in his administration. Former Sen. Tom Daschle, (D-SD) who has accepted Obama's offer to serve as Health and Human Services Secretary, is the leader of the Transition's Health Policy Team. Daschle is asking Americans to help with reform efforts by sharing their health care experiences and concerns.

Recommendations that the transition team will provide to the new administration will include some of the information provided by the American public. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and the National Hospice Foundation (NHF) are encouraging hospice supporters to participate to help the administration better understand what is important regarding end-of-life care.

"The need for people to tell their stories is one that we've longed championed as part of our grass-roots advocacy work in the hospice community," said J. Donald Schumacher, president/ CEO of NHPCO. "There is no better way to understand the health care needs of our nation than by hearing the stories from concerned citizens."

While details of Obama's health care proposals won't be known right away, Daschle initiated the information-gathering process. The strategy began with an invitation for people across the nation to hold what are being thought of as "house parties" from Dec. 15-31, 2008, with the intention of sharing concerns and experiences. Information gathered from these informal gatherings then can be posted on the web site, change.gov. At press time, NPCO's Caring Connections and the NHF were scheduled to host a discussion for staff, families, and organization supporters at their offices in Alexandria, VA, in December. Additional information about the Obama-Biden transition team's approach to health policy is available at change.gov/ healthcare.