In 1982, President Ronald Reagan established the National Hospice and Palliative Care Week which marked a turning point in the care for the terminally ill. This significant recognition of the importance of hospice was later changed to a month-long observance and moved to November.
President Reagan also signed The Medicare Hospice Benefit into law in 1982. This law provided coverage for those with terminal illnesses to receive hospice care which wasn’t included previously in the 1965 Medicare and Medicaid act. This momentous move opened up end-of-life care to more people, limited financial worries during an emotionally taxing time and highlighted its importance as one of many compassionate medical options available today.
Before the Medicare Hospice Benefit, hospice care was largely provided by non-profit organizations and community-based programs with limited resources due to their reliance on donations. Moreover, access to these services was difficult for many families as they were expensive and beyond reach. This created an immense gap in available treatments for those who suffered from terminal illnesses. The new regulation addressed this gap by providing coverage for hospice care for eligible patients with a range of services including medical and nursing care, counseling and social services.
The Medicare Hospice Benefit has been a driving force behind the growth of hospice programs around the country. It prompted organizations to offer their own services and subsequently expand the industry as more people sought this type of care. Today, you can access hospices that are run by non-profits, for-profit companies and even government agencies. They provide both individuals and families with an invaluable source of compassionate end-of-life care.
Ultimately, the Medicare Hospice Benefit of 1982 was a groundbreaking law that had an immense impact on hospice care in America. This legislation enabled more individuals with terminal illness to receive top-quality, end-of-life treatment and gave families and caregivers the assistance they desperately needed. Presently, hospice care is an indispensable part of our healthcare system. It offers relief and support for patients going through life’s last chapter.