June 01, 2016

Advance Care Planning

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Shelley Capito (R-W.V.) have introduced a bipartisan bill addressing end-of-life issues by providing federal support to educate patients and providers, developing core end-of-life care quality measures, and testing innovations in advance care planning through telemedicine. S. 2961, known as the Compassionate Care Act, also would implement studies on national advance directive policies as well as enhance public and professional education on the subject. In a press release, Blumenthal emphasized that advance care planning conversations are “essential to ensuring that we all receive the care that we want and that is right for us.” He said that the act would improve communication and accordingly “improve end-of-life care for all Americans.” The ABA sent a letter on May 18 commending the senators for their work on the bill, noting that the association has supported enacting advance care planning legislation for over two decades. “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,” explained ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman in the letter.

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