Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced bipartisan legislation to promote advance care planning, a small step, Warner told participatns in a February meeting of the Center for Practical Bioethics, to begin to address major challenges in improving care for people with advanced illness and those near the end of life. While the bill has been referred to the Senate, it does begin to engage policymakers in the issues–an effort that was derailed a few years ago with the “death panel” debacle.
The proposed legislation, Warner says, includes 4 key elements:
1. Establishing a reimbursement mechanism under Medicare Part B for patients with advanced illness, who meet criteria of frailty, and who can benefit from care planning conversations with an interdisciplinary team
2. Launch a pilot study, Advanced Illness Care Coordination Serivces, to learn more about how to provide the care envisioned in such plans
3. Develop systems that ensure the plans are valid in any and all settings
4. Issue grants to disseminate information and educate the public and stakeholders
Warner’s brief remarks offer insights gleaned from his years as the son of a woman who had Alzheimer’s, and his many years in shaping public policy. You can watch them here.
key words: Mark Warner, Johnny Isakson, advance care plans, public policy, palliative care