CMS may adopt doctors' calls for end-of-life counseling
The proposed 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule would establish two new codes to be used for early conversations about care options. This advance care planning would include discussions before progression of illness and during treatment. One code would cover the first 30-minute conversation, while the second code would cover additional 30-minute blocks.
Policy urging insurers to pay for such counseling was passed by physicians at the 2015 AMA Annual Meeting and would include goals of care, living wills, and durable powers of attorney for health care. The CMS will be accepting comments relating to the rule until Sept. 6 before publishing the final rule later in the year.
"The proposed Medicare payment rule affirms the need to support conversations between patients and physicians to establish and communicate the patient's wishes in responding to various medical situations," AMA President-Elect Andrew W. Gurman, M.D., said in a statement. "The AMA has long supported coverage of advance care planning and provided recommendations and input to help Medicare create a payment policy based on a full understanding of this medical service."
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