Medicare Change in 2016 to Spur More Advance Care Planning

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An upcoming change in Medicare is designed to spur more conversations between senior citizens and their doctors about “advance care planning.”  Ideastream’s Kay Colby explains.

 

An upcoming change in Medicare could spur more conversations between senior citizens and their loved ones about “advance care planning.”  Ideastream’s Kay Colby explains.

Starting January 1st, folks who are 65 and older may find themselves talking more with their doctors about end of life care or the treatment they want should they become seriously ill.  That's becasue Medicare will start reimbursing doctors for time they spend talking about such issues.  Cleveland Clinic Dr. Shlomo Koyfman says it's a big paradigm shift from being reactive to being proactive about end of life care.

"It’s telling docs this is important to spend time talking to patients.  You guys know what intubation is, what resuscitating is.  And doctors who have that experience need to be able to take time to explain it to patients so they get a sense while they are well in the office … which is the time to think about these things." 

Experts say far too often patients end up in the Intensive Care Unit unable to make healthcare decisions and creating stress for family members who may not know what they want.  Advocates hope the Medicare change serves as a springboard to help adults of all ages talk to loved ones about medical care preferences and consider the importance of completing legal forms known as "advance directives."

 

Resources for programs to assist with end of life discussions and advance directives:

 

http://www.hospicewr.org/national-healthcare-decisions-day-2

resource page from the Hospice of the Western Reserve

 

http://ohiohospitals.org/advance-directives

 

http://summitohioprobate.com/end-of-life-planning/

Summit County Probate Court resource page

 

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