Support public access to hospice

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

To the editor: There are many in our communities who have received the benefits of hospice care over the past 30 years; yet there are so many who have never had the opportunity to utilize their guaranteed Medicare Hospice benefit.

Up until recently, the growth of small hospices have been rising thanks to the efforts of the many caring health professionals within our communities.

That growth, and that care, is now being threatened by a complex and confusing issue now before Congress known as the Medicare Hospice Cap.

This issue affects the many hospices in all areas across the United States by restricting the amount of money available to each Medicare recipient for care after their personal physician has deemed that hospice care is appropriate and necessary.

There is no one but God who is to say when exactly we will be called home, but it is Medicare who says we only have the right to six months of care after we have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness such as cancer, Alzheimer’s or heart disease.

While there have been many advances in the treatment of these diseases, there eventually comes a time when the only possible care is that of hospice, a care that provides comfort and relief from pain.

Who is to say any hospice should have to stop providing that care simply because an individual’s money has run out from Medicare?

Medicare guarantees your right to hospice care.

This cap will force those caring medical professionals in our communities to stop being able to provide that care for anyone.

At the present time, both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives have before them the Preserving Access to Hospice Act (PATH Act), asking a review of this financial limitation be studied and updated.

I ask all who feel hospice care in our communities is important to please write to their congressmen and women to plead for the support of this bill.