Policy Matters

Member Spotlight: Hospice of Northwest Ohio: Advocacy in Action

Reaching out to state legislators is more important than ever for them to see the impact of care provided to Ohioans and the need to protect and serve. During August, Hospice of Northwest Ohio reached out to Congressman Latta (R-OH) requesting his assistance to help aid in the care provided to local veterans through their hospice. What began with a letter quickly turned into a visit from the Congressman to the inpatient facility in Perrsyburg where he learned about the true care provided by hospice. Below is a highlight of advocacy activities by Hospice of Northwest Ohio staff. CONGRATULATIONS Judy and staff on your advocacy efforts!

Dave and Tammy Woleslagel on couch at left were delighted to talk about their family’s hospice experiences with Congressman Latta Judy Seibenick and Libby Troutman Congressman Latta enjoyed a lively conversation with Margaret Lovelly a hospice home care patient temporarily staying at our inpatient center for respite care Libby Troutman left Judy Seibenick and Congressman Latta

8-1-14  Judy Seibenick, President/CEO of Hospice of Northwest Ohio, sent Congressman Latta a letter requesting assistance in obtaining a contract with Ann Arbor VA to serve local Veterans in their inpatient units instead of them having to transfer to Ann Arbor or Detroit.  They received a positive response from this letter and his office was contacting Ann Arbor and is looking into this matter.

8-4-14  Libby Troutman (Social Worker) and Gina Kasch (Volunteer Coordinator)  met with Ryan Mack, Veteran’s Legislative Aide.  The visit went very well and Mr. Mack was given a tour and learned about the We Honor Veteran’s program and shared ideas on how to serve our veterans.

8-13-14  Congressman Latta and his aide, Melissa Short, visited the Perrysburg Inpatient Unit.  He met with President/CEO, Judy Seibenick and Libby Troutman, Social Worker.  Judy Lang (marketing) was also present and their wonderful dog, Juno, joined in the visit for a short time.   The Congressman was given a tour as Hospice of Northwest Ohio staff talked about their program and about Hospice services in general.  They were able to answer many detailed questions about pain management, the Hospice team, cost savings of hospice care,serving Veterans and more.  Congressman Latta had a very good conversation with a patient’s son & daughter-in-law and a conversation with another patient in her room here. (highlighted in the photos above)

Governor Signs Hospice Opioid Diversion Bill

Governor Kasich Signs HB366 Into Law

Columbus, Ohio
June 20, 2014 – Earlier this week Governor John Kasich signed HB 366 Hospice Opioid Diversion (Sprague-R) into law. In a continued effort to address Ohio’s opiate epidemic; drug overdoses caused by prescription opioids in Ohio account for more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. In addition, prescription opioids have become the leading gateway drug to heroin. Today, 80% of heroin users started as a result of an addiction to prescription opioids. As such, Rep. Sprague brought the bill forward as part of a package of House bills to address any potential for opioid diversion. HB366 targets this problem by enhancing existing hospice program policies and raising the industry standard in order to prevent opiate diversion in at home hospice setting.

Jeff Lycan, President/CEO, Midwest Care Alliance, the state’s largest association representing hospice in Ohio, believes “this legislation will help prevent diversion of pain medications by instituting standards for all hospice providers that are considered best practice in the industry. These practices will identify risk factors and direct hospices to destroy medications that are no longer needed or used by the patient. These actions protect our patients, their families and the public. This is the critical element regarding this piece of legislation.”

The bill requires a licensed hospice care program that provides at home hospice services to implement policy with specific procedures in order to prevent the diversion of controlled substances containing opioids. A copy of the provider’s policy must be provided to the patient/family at the beginning of care.

Such procedures require a hospice program to request, in writing, the relinquishment of any drugs containing opioids that are included in a patient’s plan of care after a patient’s death or when no longer needed. The bill includes procedures for the disposal and documentation of such relinquished drugs. Following the request, any drugs not relinquished in accordance with the written policy must be reported to local law enforcement by the hospice program, and local law enforcement then must investigate and dispose of such controlled substances.

This bill solidifies and unifies current hospice program practices regarding controlled substances containing opioids.