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CMS Proposes Paying for End-of-Life Care Discussion

CMS has proposed to pay physicians and healthcare providers for the time they spend on end-of-life discussions.

This was proposed in the CMS 2016 Medicare physician fee schedule beginning Jan. 1, 2016. The National Academy of Medicine, formerly The Institute of Medicine, made the recommendation in its 2014 document Dying in America. Advance care planning would need to be reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of the illness or injury.

There are two advance care-planning codes. These codes provide payment for the time involved in discussing the advance directive issues and in filling out the forms. One code covers the first 30 minutes of discussion while the second covers additional 30 minute blocks of times. CMS estimates the amount would be $86 and $75, respectively.

When final, hospitals may want to ensure their physicians and healthcare providers are familiar with this provision on the end-of-life counseling. It could include short-term treatment options or long-term options, such as considering if patients want a heart transplant if their CHF worsens. More Americans are aging and face advancing chronic health conditions. Advance care planning may help to reduce readmissions by not providing care not desired by terminal patients or getting them into palliative care programs more timely.

Advance directives could include their end-of-life wishes. Advance directives include living wills, DPOAs, organ donor cards, and mental health declarations. To see the original Federal Register article of July 15, 2015, Medicare Program, Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2016, click here.

To learn more about the upcoming webinar on this topic, please click [Live Webinar] Advance Directives Update: What Every Hospital Practitioner Needs to Know or contact us at [email protected] or 800.688.2421 for additional information.

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