Our speaker today was Jessica Hausauer PhD, Executive Director of the MN Network of Hospice and Palliative Care.  MNHPC is the state's leading hospice and palliative care network, bringing providers, business partners, and individuals together to increase knowledge, access services, and strengthen advocacy for people living with a serious illness or experiencing the end of life.  The organization has been in place for 40 years and its Board is made up of nurses, doctors, clinicians, and community leaders passionate about the value of these services.  Palliative care is meant to ease the lives of those living with serious illness.  Its goal is to relieve pain, symptoms and stress.  Care can be delivered at home or in-facility.  Currently Medicare offers some coverage and some private insurance plans also provide some coverage.  MNHPC is working to expand insurance coverage.  Hospice care is intended to involve the final 6 month of life although it often gets extended if life continues beyond 6 months.  Curative treatment is forgone.  The focus is on relieving physical, spiritual and emotional pain.  Hospice care is paid by Medicare and also covered by most private insurance.