This report, prepared for the Maine Hospice Council and funded by the Carpenter Foundation, presents findings of a qualitative study of barriers to hospice utilization. This study includes the perspectives of all 26 Medicare certified hospice providers in Maine. Significant findings of the qualitative study include <li> A continuing need to educate the general public about hospice and the Medicare benefit. <li> Maine health care providers have low referral rates to the hospice programs and often misunderstand the regulations and guidelines of the hospice benefit. <li> The referral process to hospice programs is based on fragile systems of communication, fraught with potential miscues, misunderstandings, and missed opportunities. <li> Providers indicate a strong interest in coming to the table to collectively address the underutilization of the Medicare hospice benefit in Maine. <li> Active consumerism may be an important key to increased dialogue and acceptance of end-of-life care--demand for hospice services may not increase until the consumer is engaged in the conversation. <li> Certain components in the Medicare hospice benefit appear open to varying interpretation and application, causing confusion for consumers and referring physicians, and may be a potential source of tension between certified agencies. <li> Significant workforce issues impact the ability of Maine hospice programs to meet even the current demand for services. <li> Provision of hospice in long-term care facilities is both an opportunity and a challenge.</li>
Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy
Barriers to Medicare Hospice Utilization
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Hartley Retires as Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center
David Hartley, PhD, the Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) and a Research Professor of Public Health has announced that he will be retiring from the University of Southern Maine August 31st, 2014. David came to the University in 1994 and has directed the MRHRC since 2004. Andy Coburn, PhD, Research Professor of Public Health, will take over as the new MRHRC Director. Erika Ziller, PhD continues in her role as Deputy Director. David has had a distinguished career in rural health and rural health research, and has made lasting contributions to the field with his work on rural behavioral health, rural disparities and health, and rural active living.
A celebration will be scheduled in early fall to honor David and his many contributions to the field and the University.