Advocacy makes a difference for hospice Medicaid beneficiaries

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To the Editor,

On March 14, 2014, the State of Michigan approved a mid-fiscal year 2014 budget supplemental bill for several programs, including the replacement of funding for the room and board benefit for hospice Medicaid beneficiaries. Advocacy efforts were essential in replacing the room and board benefit for hospice Medicaid beneficiaries. Thank you for all of your efforts on this important issue.

When the Michigan Department of Community Health eliminated room and board reimbursement for Medicaid beneficiaries who needed inpatient hospice services in October 2013, many of our community members asked how they could help. You understood that without the room and board benefit, many frail and elderly Medicaid beneficiaries returned to the hospital for care, a more costly option.

Everyone who made their voice heard on behalf of patients and families made a difference. Thank you for everything you have done on behalf of this issue, whether it was calling, emailing, writing or visiting your legislator, spreading the word to your family and friends or keeping the faith that we would find a solution for Medicaid hospice beneficiaries.

We are grateful that the Michigan legislature found a solution to this critical situation through this supplemental law and recognizes the importance of this issue. Our advocacy efforts will be an ongoing effort. The supplemental bill expires in September and we will need to obtain funding for future budget years. Your advocacy efforts are very much appreciated. On behalf of the patients and families who utilize this benefit, thank you. Medicaid beneficiaries will receive the right care in the right place at the right time.

Gloria D. Brooks, MPA, CHA
President and CEO
Arbor Hospice
Ann Arbor

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