As we age, the risks of chronic illness rise. Fragmented health care systems make the ability to plan for care difficult. The Patient Choice and Quality Care Act of 2017 seeks to alleviate this burden through team-based, coordinated care, as well as helping ensure that those with advanced care directives have their wishes heard and honored. The Act will amend the Social Security Act to provide for advanced illness care coordination services for Medicare beneficiaries.
The Act outlines how individuals would be involved in planning their care, with the assistance of a team of professionals:
- Defining the goals of care, values and preferences.
- Providing information on disease trajectory.
- Discussing and evaluating range of treatment options toward patient goals.
- Providing referrals to medical or social services.
- Training patient and caregivers.
- Providing site visits to assist patient and caregivers in condition management.
The Act will improve Medicare’s existing coverage for advanced care planning services by:
- Allowing appropriately trained or experienced clinical social workers to provide services.
- Ensuring that costs are not a barrier to those who need care planning services.
The Act ensures patients and providers have support tools:
- The “Medicare and You” handbook will be updated to include information about advanced care planning.
- Electronic health records will include advance care planning documents.
Medicare providers of services will be required to follow individuals’ preferences:
- Advance directives should follow the patient, regardless of state or site of care. Physicians and other health care providers should honor patient preferences in making treatment decisions.
- Comptroller General will be directed to study use, portability and electronic storage of advance directives.
The Patient Choice and Quality Care Act of 2017 will ensure that patients have access to quality care planning for the final stages of life. Patients are informed of their rights; their choices and preferences will be honored by caregivers and medical professionals.
Visit www.nahc.org/advocacy-policy/patient-choice-and-quality-care-act-of-2017/, www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1334/text or www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2797 for more information.