Compassion & Choices is endorsing House Bill 5555, Personalize Your Care Act of 2016, which can remove existing impediments to a person’s advance directive being honored. This bill would help in several ways: It calls for a Medicare demonstration project in which accepted beneficiaries could receive advanced illness management and palliative care services if their life expectancy is 24 months or less. Currently Medicare provides hospice services for all beneficiaries whose physicians estimate the patient has six months or less to live if the patient elects to forgo curative care services for their terminal condition.
“The bill allows Medicare to take a more innovative approach to end-of-life care. It allows people and their doctors to determine when services are needed and not needed, and care can be based more on a person’s preferences and values instead of an abstract timeline,” explains C&C’s federal director, Mark Dann.
A strong improvement in the bill is how it makes advance directives easier for a person’s care team to access. It enhances the portability of advance directives, makes them authorizable between states and authorizes electronic health records to provide “one-click access” to a patient’s care team for advance planning documents
The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) are supportive of the Personalize Your Care Act also. “The bill helps to increase access to end-of-life care with the demonstration project, makes it easier for advance planning documents to be honored throughout the country and makes it easier for a healthcare team to honor a person’s wishes,” says Dann.
You can read the full legislative brief here.