We Honor Veterans Partner Networking Call Recording 03/15/17

Katherine Kemp: NHPCO Access Manager

  • Welcome and introductions
  • We are looking forward to meeting partners in person, please let us know if you will be attending NHPCO’s upcoming Management and Leadership Conference.
  • Thank you to all that participated in the Annual We Honor Veterans Educational Needs Assessment. All of the feedback is received and a plan is being put in motion to meet partners’ requests.
  • We Honor Veterans has recently distributed its first quarterly Newsletter! To view this newsletter click here. If you did not receive an email about this Newsletter and would like to receive them please email us at Veterans@nhpco.org
  • The new Education on Palliative and End-of-Life Care (EPEC) is now available, along with other free resources on the VHA Train website.

Edo Banach – NHPCO President and CEO 

  • As a son, grandson, and great grandson of Veterans, Edo values the work that hospices are doing, especially for those who have who have served this country. Edo would like to help to make sure that the voices of We Honor Veterans partners are heard.

Linda Simon & Andrew Schiavello – Virtual Honor Flights

  • Linda is the Veteran Liaison for Compassus Hospice and Palliative Care.
  • Andrew Schiavello is the President of the Philadelphia Honor Flight.
  • The Honor Flight Hub located in Philadelphia, PA was established approximately 5 years ago. The group later heard of the opportunity to host Virtual Honor Flights for those unable to travel into DC. Linda reached out to a local continuing care facility to collaborate in launching a Virtual Honor Flight.
  • The goal of the Virtual Honor Flight is to replicate the actual Honor Flight, as much as possible. All Veterans are checked in, upon arrival. A t-shirt and jackets are provided to all Veterans. Veterans then experience a virtual flight, where they are flown over Washington DC. A slide show was prepared to show the different memorials visited during an Honor Flight. Afterwards, a red carpet is rolled out to welcome the Veterans home. Family, friends, and others stand along the carpet with American flags and cheer as the Veterans make their way down the carpet. Once the Veterans have made it outside they are greeted by motorcycles, fire engines, the Mummers, etc.  
  • When preparing for a Virtual Honor Flight it is important to create a timeline and divide the responsibilities amongst the parties involved.


  • Q: Is it possible to make the PowerPoint accessible to all members?
    A: Linda will be reaching out to the creator of the PowerPoint to ask if it can be posted on the We Honor Veterans website.
  • Q: Is the Honor Flight currently focused on only WWII Veterans? If so, is there a way we can tailor the Virtual flight to meet the interests of all Veterans?
    A: The Honor Flight has opened up to all wars and all conflicts.

Judith Skretny – NHPCO, Director of Palliative Care

  • Three years ago, a needs assessment was done amongst the members of NHPCO. One of the top issues was palliative care. Due to this, NHPCO began a rigorous program of palliative care resource development.
  • NHPCO has populated its website with an array of information and resources pertaining to palliative care.
  • NHPCO provides the following palliative care resources to members and non-members alike:
    • A non-medical definition of palliative care
    • Legal and regulatory resources
    • Information on the Joint Commissions certification program
    • Webinars and courses co-sponsored with the MJHS Institute for Palliative Care
  • At the upcoming Management and Leadership Pre-conference, Saturday, April 29, 2017, 1:00 ‐ 5:00 pm, a fast‐paced and interactive program is being offered for anyone who is beginning or thinking about beginning a community‐based palliative care program. Program delivery models will be discussed, as will the basics of conducting an organizational needs assessment. Participants will learn about Medicare Part B billing and coding and receive direction on creating a business plan. For more information click here!

Scott Shreve from the Department of Veterans Affairs: Updates from VA

  • ELNEC for Veterans is in the final editing stages. Its release date is within weeks, not months!
  • Life Sustaining Treatment Physicians Handbook, the Department of Veterans Affairs has put a policy into place that requires all clinicians to have a conversation with any patient with a life expectancy on the order of a year or two. This is engaging people with decisional capacity to find out what is important to them in a manner that surpasses advance directives and other attempts at communicating preferences and values. The VA has contracted with Vital Talk and is in the process of disseminating training on how to have goals of care conversations with patients.
  • VA pays for 7,000-8,000 Veterans to receive hospice benefit in a given year. Often these are Veterans with no other payer options. The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act have caused some complications. The VA was not permitted to use funding from the Choice Act to provide hospice until November 2016. After permission was granted with a series of caveats, within two months we were no longer able to use funding. We will be sure to keep partners updated as things progress.
  • The VA is disseminating the Vietnam War commemoration pin: www.vietnamwar50th.com

Q &A

  • Q: Our community hospice, located in New York City, often collaborates with our local VA facilities, we serve several Veterans. We have a very challenging time while trying to connect with the correct contacts within the VA at a speedy manner.  
    A: We will email the contact information that will be of most help. Keep in mind that the VA is more than one organization. The VA Benefits team is a completely separate organization than the VA Health Administration team.
  • Q: A Veterans patient was transferred from a different hospice and is currently receiving $3000 bills from the other hospice.  
    A: By law, hospice is a part of every enrolled Veterans health package. Please contact us with more detailed information at Veterans@nhpco.org. Keep in mind the Veteran must be enrolled for Veterans benefits before the billing occurs to receive benefits.    
  • Q: How will we know when the new ELNEC is available? Will our ELNEC certified training nurse be able to access this through the training website?
    A: NHPCO will make the content widely available. We will be sending the resource information out via email and it will also be posted on the We Honor Veterans website.
  • Q: A Vietnam Veteran came on service with us, living in horrible conditions, in a shed. He was already enrolled for VA benefits. In order to assist him, we had a very challenging time getting in contact with anybody from the VA. The patient passed before we could provide care. What suggestions do you have for us for serving Veterans who do not want to leave the environment that they are in?
    A: The first goal would be to provide you with the best contact at the VA. If you are having difficulties with finding a VA contact please contact veterans@nhpco.org. When a Veteran is in an unsafe environment, it becomes a bigger issue. Will the Veteran accept our homebased Veteran care programs? These are not hospice or palliative care providers; however, they will go out and do assessments.
  • Q: Situations have occurred with Veterans whose doctors have left the VA clinic and have not yet been assigned to a new physician. Our clinic does not have an inpatient clinic and is a Monday-Friday clinic, attached to a medical center. Therefore, our contact said that as long as you have a Veteran, the hospice piece is attached to the Veteran’s benefits. If we need to admit somebody over the weekend we must call on the day of admission and leave a message, and they can create the authorization date that we will need. This scenario occurred, we followed their instructions. However, the Veteran was never assigned a physician; therefore we cannot be reimbursed for the Veteran’s care.  
    A: The VA does not require a VA physician to be the attendee of record. The VA does require that if the VA is paying for the Veteran’s care, a VA physician must review and approve that Veteran’s record to say he/she is appropriate for hospice care. There is no requirement that the VA physician needs to be the one to sign the official orders.

Wrap Up and Next Meeting

  • The next meeting will be in June 14, 2017. Have a wonderful spring and we are looking forward to hearing from everyone again!