Hospice of Palm Beach County/Hospice of Palm Beach County Advocate Before Congress For Patients And Families
June 21, 2012
Dr. Gail Austin Cooney called to testify before U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Aging.
Washington, DC – Hospice of Palm Beach County and Hospice of Broward County recently represented national efforts in advocating for families and patients in Congress. The week’s efforts began on June 13, as Dr. Gail Austin Cooney, MD FAAHPM, Hospice of Palm Beach County Medical Director Emeritus, served as an expert witness before the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Aging.
Advising the Senate panel on best practices to serve people with advanced illness, Dr. Cooney offered the unusual dual perspective of a physician specializing in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and that of a patient, having been diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in 2008. In remission now, she spoke of the importance of Palliative Medicine in managing the side effects of treatments, guiding the patient and family through medical options and communicating with family members.
“Even though I speak 'doctor’ pretty well, I needed someone to help me talk through what my goals of care were as I looked at a whole new range of toxic therapies,” Dr. Cooney testified. “People with serious illness – me now, and someday all of us - we need your help to make this level of care available to all Americans so that they can have an experience of serious illness that is as healing and as hopeful as mine has been,” Cooney added.
Advocacy efforts were designed to request Senate approval for the HELP Hospice Act, which would enact payment reform and amend the requirements for physician visits. The week’s efforts continued as delegates from National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) throughout the U.S. met with Congress on June 17-18. Acting as a representative in Florida’s Hospice Advocacy Notebook, Hospice of Palm Beach County and Hospice of Broward County contributed letters of support from family members of hospice patients to provide congressional representatives with letters directly from their constituents, underscoring the importance of Florida hospices.
For more information about Hospice of Palm Beach County call 561.227.5140 or for Hospice of Broward County 954.267.3840.