I found this as I was searching on another topic. I thought it may be of interest to we seniors. Personally I think it may be a good idea - but is it the next step TO - end our lives if we are not viewed as productive, contributing members of society? A sticky issue - or long over due? I'm hoping for comments.
Dated, October 30, 2015 Here's the article - from Medscape Medical News - in part:
A proposal too hot to handle in the nascent days of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became a reality today when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved payment for voluntary end-of-life counseling as part of its 2016 Medicare physician fee schedule.
The new policy will help seniors "make important decisions that give them control over the type of care they receive and when they receive it," CMS said in a news release.
The decision to pay for so-called advance-care planning (ACP) initially will fall to Medicare administrative contractors (MACs) that process claims on behalf of Medicare.
An early version of the healthcare reform law called for paying physicians under Medicare for ACP — that is, discussing advance directives, hospice care, and other end-of-life issues with patients. Supporters of the idea said it would address the problem of physicians not taking the time for such important conversations because they were not reimbursable in a fee-for-service system. However, that provision was dropped after ACA critics erroneously claimed that the law would establish "death panels" with the goal of reducing healthcare costs by culling sickly seniors from the population.
CMS reintroduced the proposal to pay for ACP to far less flak this summer in the first draft of its Medicare physician fee schedule for 2016. Today, the agency released the final version of the fee schedule, with the proposal intact.
The American Medical Association and many other medical societies support paying for end-of-life counseling, although the small but vocal Association of American Physicians and Surgeons contends that such fees would "create financial incentives to persuade patients to consent to the denial of care."
In the final version of the fee schedule, CMS said it received roughly 725 public comments on its ACP proposal since it was first floated this summer. The agency noted that "the vast majority of comments indicate that most patients desire access to ACP services as they prepare for important medical decisions."
What do you think?
Warm Wishes to Y'all,