The Obama Administration announced that Medicare doctors will be paid for end-of-life counseling for terminally ill patients.
Medicare will pay $86 for the first 30 minutes of "advance care planning" if it takes place in a doctor's office, $80 if it takes place in a hospital and $75 for an additional half hour in either setting.
‘Medicare will reimburse doctors who work with patients to plan end-of-life care that help reduce unnecessary medical costs. The rule goes into effect on January 1, 2016.’
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in August made the rule proposal and collected public comments. Health policy experts said that such counseling can help reduce unnecessary medical costs.
From January 2016, doctors can get reimbursed for advising terminally ill patients on what types of interventions they may want to accept or reject.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, called it a "turning point" for end-of-life care.
He added that providers need training in offering such counseling and should be able to add it to a patient's medical records. He originally tried to get it included in the Affordable Care Act.
"The decision by CMS to create a benefit for advance care planning is a turning point in end-of-life care. However, our work is far from done ... ultimately, the care provided must align with the patient's stated goals, values, and informed preferences," said Blumenauer.