December 01, 2015

Advance Care Planning

The ABA commended Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Dec. 9 for his work on the “Compassionate Care Act of 2015,” pending legislation that he plans to introduce shortly to enhance advance care planning. In a letter to Blumenthal, ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman said that, for over two decades, the ABA has supported enactment of such legislation. “Health care providers cannot know and honor patients’ values and wishes unless care planning conversations take place on a recurring basis and providers have the skills needed to engage patients in a meaningful way,” he wrote. “The legislation would enhance public and professional education in advance care planning, provide financial support for programs such as Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment, and implement studies on the feasibility of a national uniform policy on advance directives, including development of a national registry. In related action at the federal level, a new rule issued in October by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services authorizes reimbursement beginning Jan. 1 to physicians and other health care professionals who provide advance care planning services – an action supported by the ABA.

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