I’m writing this from the airport on my way home from NHPCO’s Management and Leadership Conference. I must say, it was a good few days in the nation’s capitol and I have a lot that I want to talk about on the blog, but, since I only have a few minutes before my flight boards, I figured I’d write a quick post giving my overall thoughts. (I refuse to pay to connect to the airport wireless, so I’ll be home safe and sound before these thoughts actually get posted.)
I have two main impressions to take home about the difference between the atmosphere and attitude surrounding this conference as apposed to what I would have expected at past NHPCO conferences. I have not been to a NHPCO event in a while, so the slow changes that have been taking place kinda hit me in the fact at the conference.
The first thing I must say is that hospice, as an industry, sure has grown up. The biggest indicator of that is probably the fact that everyone at the conference actually used the word industry to describe hospice. I have been using the word for two years on this blog, but most hospice people, especially those early pioneers, have been opposed to or reluctant to use that term. Medicare will spend 10 BILLION dollars on hospice. We have served over 1.5 million deaths. We’re all grown up. While we still like to think of ourselves a movement, we are also finally admitting that we’re not kids any longer. The main reason for this change is the fact that Medicare is focusing on us. We can’t act like we’re “budget dust” any longer, and NHPCO has made a conscious effort not to let us. Good for them!
Second, the business of hospice is much more businesslike. It has not been long at all since there was a bit of an unwritten rule that talking about or focusing on the business side of hospice too much made you a pagan. There seemed to be a much larger percent of people at the conference who were willing to talk openly about the importance of running your hospice well than I would have expected. Much less feel good, much more focus on your figures. Competition probably has driven this change, but I also give some credit to Andrew Reed at Multiview and others who have been pushing hospices to be more responsible with their money.
As I said, there is a lot to talk about. A lot was said about the chances of Medicare bringing down the hammer and I learned about quite a few resources I think you’ll appreciate. Time to get back home. See ya’ Washington, I’m sleeping in my own bed tonight!
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