Statement

Pew Applauds Decision to Reimburse Providers for Advance Care Discussions With Patients

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WASHINGTON—The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule today that updates payment policies, payment rates, and quality provisions for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.

The rule, to take effect in January, will allow Medicare to reimburse health care professionals for time spent discussing plans for end-of-life care with patients and their families. Such planning helps ensure that patients’ wishes are honored at a critical time.

Lee Goldberg, director of Pew’s improving end-of-life care project, released the following statement:

“The Pew Charitable Trusts applauds the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid for taking a significant step to improve people’s ability to control their own care near the end of life. The rule the agency issued today—with the solid backing of clinicians, consumer groups, and the public—will reimburse health care providers for engaging patients in voluntary conversations about the care and treatments they would want near the end of life.

“These regulations are a starting point for a health care system that will honor the goals and wishes of patients. The next steps will be critical. We need to develop measures to assess the care patients receive at the end of life and to test innovative care models that can deliver what patients with serious illness want and need. And Congress should consider legislation by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) that would build upon the important step CMS has taken today.”

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The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at pewtrusts.org.

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