August 22, 2015

Proposed Medicare rule change promotes advance care planning

Some members of Congress are now opposing the proposed Medicare rule change that will finally reimburse health care providers for discussing end-of-life planning with their patients.
Yes, there are some people out there in the health care/political/social influence sphere who believe that one way to deal with the nearly overwhelming number of aging and dying on the horizon is to discourage the use of life prolonging measures. May I suggest that if someone is advising you to sign advance directives that specify the withdrawal of life prolonging measures in all cases--and you don't happen to agree--you should run, not walk, in the opposite direction and find new forms. And new advisers.
Effective and meaningful advance care planning means knowing, recording and communicating one's wishes for care at the end of life. That's a patient-driven goal that requires proactive patient effort. I trust American adults to take care of business, once they have the information they need.