Physician Payment for End of Life Discussions
October 1, 2014 10:40 AM
A recent New York Times article, “Coverage for End-of-Life Talks Gaining Ground” by Pam Belluck on August 30, 2014 highlights end of life discussions between doctors and patients. The article identifies reasons why end of life discussions are gaining ground and why private insurers have begun paying physicians for these conversations. The article also highlights the fact that the American Medical Association (AMA) recently created current procedural terminology (CPT) codes “to report services related to advance directive plan discussions with patients,” and urged CMS to adopt these codes as part of the Medicare Physician Payment Schedule for 2015.
If Medicare adopts the change, its decision will also set the standard for private insurers, encouraging many more doctors to engage in these conversations.
In related news, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and 33 other members of Congress sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner urging that CMS adopt the AMA’s recommendations and adequately reimburse Medicare providers for having voluntary discussions about end-of-life care and planning with patients.