Executive Summary

With the announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that it plans to begin paying providers to engage patients in end-of-life planning discussions, experts suggest emergency providers will need to up their game in terms of both discussing end-of-life care options with patients and families, as well interpreting choices that patients have spelled out in advance planning documents. A final decision on the proposal is not expected until November, but CMS has signaled that it is ready to implement the policy in January 2016.

• Experts suggest the move will ultimately give emergency providers clearer direction on patient preferences when they present for care with end-stage conditions.

• They also agree that more specialty training is needed to educate providers on how to effectively engage patients and families in advance planning discussions.

• Experts also advise hospitals to consider quality control procedures to ensure patient choices regarding end-of-life care are being followed.