Restoring the Sacred

Thursday, July 9, 2015

If it sounds like a Death Panel, it probably...

The reports of the death of Death Panels might have been greatly exaggerated (to paraphrase Mark Twain).

"The federal government is proposing to pay health-care providers for talking to Medicare beneficiaries about end-of-life care after mounting calls for a better approach to conversations about dying that can both save costs and improve care," according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal article goes on:
"Efforts to provide compensation to providers who hold such consultations ran into opposition in 2009, after mostly Republican opponents of what would become the Affordable Care Act said the law would lead to “death panels” tasked with seeking out cost savings by rationing care. A provision to pay physicians for such end-of-life counseling was stripped from the final bill.
"Some doctors now hold such conversations, which often can be lengthy discussions about what type of lifesaving measures patients would want, without getting paid. The hope is that offering reimbursement will encourage physicians to speak frankly with patients about what they want and allow patients to engage in more frequent advance-care planning."
If you think this sounds like a good idea, wait until your palliative care doctor or nurse practitioner engages you in "the talk," then you might be reminded that the most important call in one's life is made by God.