The Pew Charitable Trusts today applauded the Obama administration’s decision to reimburse health care professionals for time spent helping patients and their families plan for care near the end of life. Such advance care planning helps ensure that patients’ wishes are honored at a critical time.
Allan Coukell, Pew’s senior director for health programs, released the following statement:
“Rigorous research has shown that seriously ill patients derive significant benefits from advance care planning and having their end-of-life wishes known, documented, and respected. Patients and families who participate in these discussions are more satisfied with their care, less likely to receive treatments they do not want in their final weeks, and more likely to spend the last days of their life in the setting they prefer.
“Unfortunately, numerous studies also have demonstrated that even the sickest patients often do not take advantage of advance care planning. Establishing Medicare reimbursement for voluntary discussions among health care professionals, patients, and their families will help more patients have control over their end-of-life wishes.
“In addition to increasing the use of advance care planning, we should improve the care Americans receive near the end of life by integrating this planning into the delivery of health care services, and by tracking and evaluating appropriate quality measures. Along with a large coalition of patient, provider, and caregiver organizations, Pew continues to support bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate and soon in the House of Representatives that would achieve these goals and help ensure that patient preferences are adequately discussed and documented.”
The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at pewtrusts.org.