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C&C Pushes to Give Patients Control

The Campaign to End Unwanted Medical Treatment (UMT), with the support of Compassion & Choices, recently released a compendium of five policy briefs written by experts at The National Academy of Social Insurance stressing the importance of person-centered healthcare. The papers center around topics that have been discussed during a series of policy briefings  hosted by the Campaign, that explored a range of issues, including understanding advance care planning, and regulatory and legislative developments around end-of-life treatment.

The Campaign’s September 29 policy luncheon will feature guest speaker Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), who introduced the Care Planning Act with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). The bill calls for federal support for the important conversations that  Medicare beneficiaries facing grave illness  need to have with their doctor to define, articulate and document their personal goals for treatment. It would further help patients avoid excessive or unwanted medical treatment, and receive only the care they want, consistent with their wishes, across care settings.

C&C pursued another avenue to facilitate advance care planning in America by submitting comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its proposal to make doctor-patient discussions about end-of-life issues a reimbursable service. Chief Program Officer Kimberly Callinan offered supportive research and specific recommendations, including scheduling such conversations prior to the onset of an illness and more frequently over time. “Ideally, these conversations should take place at least once a year as a part of a patient’s annual medical exam. However, the patient and physician should be given the autonomy to engage in these conversations as needed,” said Callinan.