End-of-Life Conversations are Coming Back

Written by on September 4, 2014 in Blog with 0 Comments

Can your doctor talk to you about end-of-life issues?

Of course he can. He just won’t be paid for doing so. The “death panel” hullabaloo when Obama Care was being enacted prevented that.

But, believe it or not, that’s changing! According to The New York Times, Sunday Aug. 14, 2014, p. 1, some insurers are now paying for the conversations, and The AMA (American Medical Association) has requested Medicare to allow the payments, and has even submitted billing codes for the purpose. Medicare has made no commitment, but a decision is likely this fall. Medicare often follows such requests from the AMA.

The NY Times says the impact of such a change will depend on a lot of variables. How much will physicians be paid? (For sure it won’t be as much as for some procedures.) How many conversations will be allowed, and how close together? Will others than M.D.s be paid (psychologists, nurse-practitioners, etc.)? Whether phone calls will be allowed, and if so will phone calls to family members be included?

The conversations are to provide information and options. They are not to lock people in to decisions.

The Times says even some Republican members of Congress support to move.

So there’s hope.

Bill

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