The Future of Hospice As Seen From Capitol Hill

Image Above: NHPCO Gala 2016 Patti Moore and Don Schumacher CEO National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

As I return home from a week in Washington DC, advocating for hospice on Capitol Hill and attending the 31st National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Management and Leadership Conference, I am once again filled with hope and pride in the difference this work continues to make in the lives of millions of dying people, their families and their loved ones across the country.

While on Capitol Hill on behalf of the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation, I heard the personal stories of Congressmen and Senators who, while they represent diametrically different political points of view, shared very similar experiences of the deaths of loved ones, with and without the support of hospice.

Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) said he and his family experienced the “horrible” death of a beloved grandmother – but that thanks to hospice, his...

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What’s Your Superpower?

One of the things I love most about facilitating leadership workshops and retreats is giving people an opportunity to look at themselves with appreciative eyes. When we talk about our superpowers, we’re not talking about x-ray vision or leaping tall buildings, but the special strengths we bring to our teams; qualities of character or personality we too often shrug off.

At a recent workshop with a senior leadership team, I asked them what they liked best about their jobs. One of the physicians said he really enjoyed the psycho-social aspects of working in hospice – of having time to talk to patients and families, and engage with them in a deeper, more meaningful way. Another team member who worked in quality control talked about how inspiring she found the compassion and professionalism the nurses, social workers, and aides bring to their jobs every day. 
Then we dug into our superpowers. The CEO said she loved being the visionary; being able to look down the...
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7 Tips For Survival From CMS and NHPCO Leaders

Photo Above: Dr. Paul McGann, Chief Medical Director for Quality Improvement at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

If we in healthcare had one wish, we’d probably ask for a glimpse of the future. What impact will the coming wave of regulations have on the care we deliver? Is the Accountable Care Act a boon, or a bust?

Dr. Paul McGann, Chief Medical Director for Quality Improvement at the Centers

for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also serves as the co-director of CMS Partnership for Patients and the co-director of the Transforming Clinical Practices Initiative. While he can’t foretell the future, he does have a unique insider’s view on what we can expect to see in our industry over the next few years.

Recently, I was facilitating a Board of Directors strategic planning retreat for a client and had the opportunity to hear Dr. McGann speak to our small group.  When someone asked him to describe what the regulatory landscape looks like...

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Lives that Inspire

Image Above: Dr. McCollough and Patti Moore at his retirement party 2008

Ask anyone who had the honor of working with the late Dr. Robert "Bob" McCollough, M.D., and chances are good they’ll share a story about his kindness, his insight, and the respect and gentleness that informed his interactions with everyone around him, from patients and their families to his peers and co-workers. Here’s mine:

The Student and the Teacher

Today I sat at the feet of the teacher, once again absorbing lessons of great importance; not the lessons that you learn in books or labs or research institutions, but the lessons of life as they’re taught only through the wisdom of the dying.


Today I sat at the feet of one of the finest men I know; Dr. Robert McCullough who was the first full-time medical director at Haven Hospice. He is quite simply a remarkable human being, conducting his life’s close exactly as he wants it, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.


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Recruiting Management at the Executive Level

So - your CEO is leaving, and you’re faced with the challenge of finding a new leader who’s the right fit for your organization. This may have been a planned exit, or an unexpected change of course: In either case, getting the right CEO/ED is key to the health of any organization, and no more so than in hospice, where mission is such a critical piece of the work we do.

In the past, hospice leaders most often came from the clinical world - nursing, counseling, or social work - with a business background. Today’s CEO needs a good grasp of not only the increasing emphasis on the business side of the organization, but also the clinical operations. While candidates don’t necessarily have to have MBAs, they must understand financials, profit and loss statements, and gross returns on investments. And with the new challenges we’re facing, entrepreneurial experience and attitude is as important today as it was at the beginning of the hospice movement.

Insider or...

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Patti Moore - History of The Watershed Group

I had the privilege of starting working in hospice in the early days, the early '80's.  It wasn't so much about death, it was about living.  It was about giving people permission to make their own choices about care.  It was helping families take care of their loved ones.  It was about empowering people to live a full life until the end of their life, and it was such a privilege to be part of the beginnings of that.  My whole life has been a real privilege because of that work.

I got to a point where I thought our brand of leadership, or engagement, of service, could be taken to other places.  So I took the leap of starting The Watershed Group.  We help companies in a number of ways. 

We provide:

  • Organizational Assessments
  • Organization Redesign to
    • Increase Productivity
    • Cultural Alignment
    • Financial Success
  • Executive Recruiting
  • Executive Coaching
  • Leadership Workshops
  • Private Executive Retreats

We also do Talent Management using the ...

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Happy 15th Anniversary

“Until one is committed there is hesitancy…the moment one definitely commits oneself, providence moves in.  So, whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”   -Goethe

The Watershed Group is celebrating 15 years in business!  When I started TWG in 1999 I was not certain of the future.  But as Goethe said, “…whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” And so I took the leap and never looked back.

What a privilege it is to be invited into organizations to offer perspective and guidance resulting in streamlined operations, financial stability and improved care for dying people and their loved ones. I never forget my work eventually touches dying people and that makes me happy.

As we move into the next chapter of hospice care, superb care will be the differentiator and being a willing partner to create the next new...

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Hospice Leaders Must Be Fearless

Each day Hospice leaders look death in the face and adjust their organizations to meet the needs of patients, caregivers, staff, donors, volunteers, referral sources, local/state/federal government regulations and the communities they serve; and do it in the midst of revolutionary change.  They must be fearless, they must be creative, they must be smart, they must be innovative and they must care.  This work is not for the faint of heart.

As many of us in end of life care attend the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Management and Leadership Conference in Washington DC this week, we must remember there are hundreds of people we can meet and access during this time together.  Listen, learn, share and have fun connecting with others who are committed to outstanding end of life care.  Recognize we are indeed all in this together, with a common purpose: support and care of those people facing serious illnesses and their loved ones.

It seems...

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March Madness

Do you work with a “team of experts”?  Or do you work with “expert teams”?  The job of a leader is to put together teams who believe in and live the organizations’ mission, who can influence and carry out change and accomplish established goals.  All the while trusting one another, respecting one another, and even loving each other and the work they do.

The UF Gator Boys are on top, once again.  The University of Florida Men’s basketball team is made up of strong players none of which were All American high school stars or any who will be #1 NBA draft picks. These players play as a team and because of that are currently ranked #1 in the nation going into the NCAA finals tournament.  What is their secret?  A single star player who shoots like a madman or a perfect ball handler or a giant who towers over all the others?

No, the Gator Boys are a team.  Not a “team of experts” but an “expert...

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"Happy" New Year

This time of year we are all focusing on new beginnings.  Goals are set, resolutions made and thoughts of “this year I’m going to …” are heard around the land.

Here is a thought, what if our goals went from how much weight we’ll lose or how much money we’ll make this year to how much happiness we will allow and how much love can we give and receive.  What if those were our measures of success instead of titles or status or stuff?  Don’t get me wrong; I like titles and status and stuff, but this year, I’m going to focus on happiness and joy and love first and see where it leads me.

I watched a wonderful Ridley Scott movie recently “A Good Year” with Russell Crowe as the main character Max Skinner.  Max inherits his uncle’s vineyard estate in Provence, France where he spent “the happiest moments of my childhood”.  However, Max was so focused on his work as a high stakes financial...

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