Medicare Plans to Pay Doctors for Counseling on End of Life

This article is taken from the Los Angeles Times, dated July 9, 2015

Proposal to plan for life’s end

BY NOAM N. LEVEY

WASHINGTON — Six years after end-of-life planning nearly derailed development of the Affordable Care Act amid charges of “death panels,” the Obama administration has revived a proposal to reimburse physicians for talking with Medicare patients about how they want to be cared for as they near death.

The proposal, contained in Medicare regulations unveiled Wednesday, comes amid growing public discussion about medical care that better reflects patients’ wishes as they age.

The American Medical Assn. has recommended the Medicare billing change.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ proposal would not require patients to sign any order or even to talk with their physicians about end-of-life care. Rather, it would allow medical providers to bill Medicare for “advance care planning” if a patient wants to have the discussion. noam.levey@latimes.com 

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