Compassion & Choices Poll Shows Need for Legislative Reform of End-of-Life CareLeave a Comment
By Sean Crowley
“We cannot put the entire burden on consumers, especially on seniors, to protect themselves from unwanted care during a medical crisis. We need carrot-and-stick policies that encourage medical providers to learn their patients’ end-of-life healthcare wishes, and to honor them.”
That is the quote by Compassion & Choices Chief Program Officer Mickey MacIntyre in a story by Becker’s Hospital Review about a poll on unwanted medical treatment conducted by the research division of Purple Strategies, one of the top five most accurate polling firms in the 2012 election.
Sponsored by Compassion & Choices, the poll shows that nearly one out of four older Americans say that either they or a family member have experienced excessive or unwanted medical treatment, the equivalent of about 25 million people.
Becker’s Hospital Review reported the following five findings from the poll:
• Sixty-one percent of those polled support reimbursing doctors for end-of-life consultations.
• Nearly 65 percent support withholding payment to healthcare providers who fail to honor their end-of-life medical wishes.
• Around 66 percent say they would “take political action to protect patients’ rights to their own choice in end-of-life care.”
• Forty-one percent say they would “take legal action” and 40 percent say they would “not pay for the treatment” in response to unwanted medical treatment.
• Forty-seven percent are very confident that emergency rooms and intensive care units would honor those wishes.
The Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990 authorizes Medicare and Medicaid to deny payment to healthcare providers who fail to inform patients of their rights around end-of-life choices.
But Congress can do more to strengthen protections for end-of-life autonomy.
It could start by passing the “Personalize Your Care Act of 2013,” which would provide Medicare and Medicaid coverage for voluntary consultations between patients and their doctors about advance care planning.
You can read the complete poll results here.