Representative Earl Blumenauer from Oregon has introduced into legislation the “Personalize Your Care Act of 2013” that would provide Medicare and Medicaid coverage for end of life discussions. Mr. Blumenaur has been dubbed “the death panel guy” for his continued role in introducing bills that tackle end of life care. In 2009, he wrote it was “perverse” that Medicare pays for most medical procedures but does not reimburse physicians “for having a thoughtful conversation to prepare patients and families for the delicate, complex, and emotionally demanding decisions surrounding the end of life care.” Blumenaur has vowed to meet with every single person of the 435 member house to get this legislation out the door. So far, 100 down – 335 to go.
His bill also provides grants to develop P.O.L.S.T systems, standing for “physician orders for life-sustaining treatment,” which require patients’ advance care plans to be included in their electronic health records and makes such directives portable across states. The P.O.L.S.T. form is intended to complement the Advance Directive and not replace it. Nebraska is one of eight states without any P.O.L.S.T. system available or currently being developed.
Click here to read a somewhat related blog post concerning physician distrust on end of life care.