Woman wearing blue gown lies in bed with her hand resting on a blanket

The new chief policy officer for the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI) told McKnight’s Home Care Daily he’s cautiously optimistic hospice providers will benefit from President Joseph Biden’s $1.9 trillion infrastructure plan.

Tom Leibfried

“I actually see it opening up an opportunity for some of the stakeholder groups that don’t wield as much power as hospitals, labor and insurance companies do,” Tom Leibfried said.

Leibfried knows his way around the beltway. He has nearly 30 years of policy experience. He most recently led legislative and healthcare strategy at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

NPHI is a collaborative of more than 70 nonprofit community-integrated hospice and palliative care providers in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The organization advocates for comprehensive community-integrated care.

NPHI has rolled out a legislative agenda that promotes greater opportunities for hospice and palliative care providers in the care continuum. It also calls for “modernizing the Medicare hospice benefit so that it reflects the new clinical realities and broader and more diverse patient populations that hospice providers now seve.”

Leibfried wouldn’t speculate on whether palliative care might be covered under Medicare as part of the president’s plan to funnel $400 billion into home-and-community-based services (HCBS), which is part of the infrastructure plan. But he thinks services that can prove they save the government money could benefit under the HCBS plan.

“We, of course, are focused on the not-for-profit programs, which you can make a very easy case for. Very clearly the programs that are part of the partnership offer better care at a lower cost to Medicare,” said Leibfried.

A little more than half of Americans polled  recently said they support the president’s infrastructure plan, which Leibfried finds encouraging. He said NPHI has been hitting Capitol Hill and having initial conversations with various committees as they build a framework for how the $400 billion will be spent.

“We are out there talking about hospice programs,” Leibfried said.