LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Hospice worker sees HELP for Medicare

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 12:16 PM.

As we listen to the latest political speeches and debates, it's clear that the future of Medicare will continue to be an important topic through Election Day and beyond.

While some legislators favor budget reductions to the program, I believe Medicare can be strengthened by investing in better, more efficient ways to care for our elderly population here in Florida and across the nation. 

For example, we should increase access to Medicare hospice services, which provide holistic care for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Hospice is certainly more compassionate and potentially less expensive than dying in a hospital ICU. End-of-life care is important for Floridians, since we already have about 3.4 million Medicare recipients. Furthermore, our population age 65 and over is expected to increase more than 176 percent between 2000 and 2030.

As a hospice professional, I want to thank Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Chumuckla, and other members of Congress from both parties who are taking this approach with their support of the HELP Act. This legislation would maintain access to hospice care, offer better safeguards to encourage quality care and help more than three dozen Florida hospice providers to deliver even better services to their patients and families.

Supporting the HELP Act is an important step as we aid terminally ill Floridians and their families.

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