We know that discussing end-of-life wishes is an important topic and now Medicare is officially recognizing this as well. Medicare has announced plans to reimburse qualified professionals like physicians, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants for conversations with patients about end-of-life planning. These billable conversations can include topics such as medical wishes or discussions about advanced directives. It is expected that having end-of-life conversations ahead of time will be more cost effective in the long run and improve patient care at the same time. Although the plan does not require physicians to initiate discussions about end-of-life planning, it is anticipated that the reimbursement will encourage them to do so. The final rule is due on November 1, 2015 and will take effect on January 1, 2016 if approved. Although the new rule is expected to be approved, it is open to public comment for 60 days.
Kaiser Health News compiled articles about the proposed reimbursement plan from a variety of major news publications. This can be viewed at: http://khn.org/morning-breakout/medicare-proposes-paying-doctors-for-end-of-life-discussions/
We believe that Doctors should have this conversation with the patients for the right reasons and not merely to be reimbursed. These are serious issues which require the Doctor, family and elder lawyer to join efforts so that the patient/client’s wishes are adhered to. The Health Care Proxy and Living Will are the two health care advance directives that we can help a client establish. These documents, together with an estate or asset protection plan, can help the client and his or her family plan for the future. Please feel free to call Tully Law, P.C. and schedule your consultation with Brian Tully, Esq.