We are fast approaching the end of the year and soon 2011 will be upon us.
This is a great time to think about end of life planning!
People think it is strange that geriatricians get excited about this but end of life planning has the power to avert a tremendous amount of suffering.
The new Medicare benefit for end of life planning kicks in 1-1-2011.
From a nifty blog The Impolitic
Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.
The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.
Under the rule, doctors can provide information to patients on how to prepare an “advance directive,” stating how aggressively they wish to be treated if they are so sick that they cannot make health care decisions for themselves.
As Kay at Balloon Juice points out:
Advanced directives aren’t controversial. They aren’t new. Ohio’s law went in nineteen years ago. They aren’t frightening. There are provisions in all fifty states for anyone to draft an advanced directive, with or without a lawyer. All this rule change does is allow Medicare to pay doctors for a consult on the medical issues surrounding end of life care.
It seems only fair that doctors should be able to charge for their time for this sort of important consult. And everyone really should make their wishes clear well before the end of their life in any event.