Editor:

You know someone who has been helped by hospice care - a mother, a brother, a friend who wanted to stay home, surrounded by their loved ones at the end of life. You know the immense value that quality, compassionate hospice care offers at a difficult time in a family's life. Sadly, access to hospice care is threatened by severe funding cuts that will go into effect in a matter of weeks, unless all of us tell the Obama Administration to stop them.

Last year, more than 1.4 million terminally ill Americans were cared for by one of our nation's hospices. Hospice care not only provides much-needed comfort to patients and families, on the practical side, it saves both taxpayers and families money.

These cuts will actually cost taxpayers more money than the cuts were intended to save. A study by Duke University found that hospice care lowers Medicare costs by more than $2,300 per patient for more than $2 billion in savings to Medicare each year.

And because hospice care is covered by Medicare, families have little or no out-of-pocket expense for hospice visits at the bedside, as well as medical essentials such as prescriptions, hospital beds, home oxygen and more.

Your immediate help is needed to ensure that hospice care is available to you, your loved ones and your community when it's needed. E-mail or call the White House at www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ or 202-456-1111, before the cuts take effect on Sept. 30. Tell President Obama to stop the cuts and support high-quality, cost-efficient, end-of-life hospice care for all patients and their families.

You can also visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association Web site for more information at www.nhpco.org.

Please. Add your voice to help save hospice care.