Our advice: HIRE A LAWYER, TOO!
Washington, DC – Today, Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), along with 33 other Members of the House of Representatives, sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator, Marilyn Tavenner, to adopt recommendations that would adequately reimburse Medicare providers for having voluntary discussions about end-of-life care and planning with patients.
Currently, the time doctors spend having discussions with their patients about end-of-life care and planning is not reimbursed under Medicaid and Medicare. Without this incentive, these conversations are not happening.
A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that more than one in four elderly Americans lacked the capacity to make their own medical care decisions at the end of life. Under those circumstances, care decisions fall to family members and doctors who may not know the treatment preferences of their loved one. Elderly patients with advance directives, however, are more likely to receive the care they want. Evidence also demonstrates that advance care planning and end-of-life discussions reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in surviving loved ones.
“Patients who wish to make clear their goals, values, and wishes through discussions with their trusted providers should have the opportunity to do so,” said Blumenauer. “In order to have these conversations, providers must have the adequate time, space, and reimbursement to conduct the complex and time-consuming discussions necessary to learn about the goals and values held by their patients and plan appropriately for their care. “
“Every organization that has seriously considered this issue, from the American Medical Association to the Institutes of Medicine, knows we have to start respecting people’s choices about how they face the end of life,” continued Blumenauer. “Making this simple change will have a profound effect on the way patients and their families spend their final days, and everyone deserves that dignity.”
The other signers of the letter are:
Henry A. Waxman (CA-33), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Peter DeFazio (OR-04)*, Ted Deutch (FL-19), Sander Levin (MI-09), Jim McDermott (WA-07), Lois Capps (CA-24), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Sam Farr (CA-17), Rush Holt (NJ-12), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Barbara Lee (CA-09), Betty McCollum (MN-04), James P. Moran (VA-08), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Ron Kind (WI-03), John Larson (CT-01), John Lewis (GA-05), James P. McGovern (MA-02), William Owens (NY-21), Mark Pocan (WI-02), David Price (NC-04), Linda Sanchez (CA-38), Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Peter Welch (VT-At large), Bobby Rush (IL-01), Janice Schakowsky (IL-09), David Scott (GA-13), Chris Van Hollen (MD-08).