Yep, he did. In the absence of legislation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has promulgated a rule that will provide a billing code and reimbursement for physicians to discuss end of life plans with their patients.
In such conversations, patients could discuss whether and how they would want to be kept alive if they became too sick to speak for themselves. Doctors can advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.
What should astonish us all is that this has gone almost completely unnoticed. It turns out that the former half-term governor of Alaska did spew about death panels when she heard about the rule, but she was just about totally ignored. So progress is possible.Under the rule, officials said, Medicare would pay $86 for the first 30 minutes of “advance care planning” in a doctor’s office and $80 for the service in a hospital. In both settings, they said, Medicare will pay up to $75 for 30 additional minutes of consultation. These standard amounts can be adjusted for differences in costs in different parts of the country.