O-care brings back once-scuttled Medicare payouts for ‘end of life’ counseling

O-care brings back once-scuttled Medicare payouts for ‘end of life’ counseling

[Ed. – LAT IS IN ERROR in identifying this reimbursed-counseling plan as the “death panel” concept.  The Independent Payment Advisory Board is the death panel.  Its charter is to save money by identifying “cost-effective” medical practices, with the criteria for cost-effectiveness including longevity after procedures and treatments.  Since older people will by definition live for shorter times after procedures and treatments, the effect of this will be to deny to older people measures that they could benefit from, because they won’t live as long afterward.  Plenty of people objected to reimbursed end-of-life counseling, which amounts to paying doctors to ensure that patients feel pressured to make pull-the-plug decisions.  But the end-of-life counseling isn’t the same thing as the “death panel.”]

[T]he Obama administration has revived a proposal to reimburse physicians for talking with their Medicare patients about how patients want to be cared for as they near death.

The proposal, contained in a large set of Medicare regulations unveiled Wednesday, comes amid growing public discussion about the need for medical care that better reflects patients’ wishes as they get older.

Two months ago, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, one of the front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, suggested that Medicare patients should sign so-called advance directives that spell out the care they want if they become incapacitated.

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

Such a session could include “the explanation and discussion of advance directives such as standard forms (with completion of such forms, when performed) by the physician or other qualified health professional,” according to the proposed rule.

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