WASHINGTON, May 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the Compassionate Care Act (S. 2961) -- bipartisan legislation that is focused on educating the public and providers on advanced illness care and care planning. C-TAC applauds the introduction of this important piece of legislation.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid's (CMS) historic decision to reimburse providers for comprehensive, voluntary advance care planning discussions with persons and their families regarding care goals and preferences was an important first step in ensuring that Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to document their goals, values, and wishes for the care they receive. Building on this, the Compassionate Care Act helps to ensure that providers and the public are prepared to have these important conversations.
"C-TAC believes that all treatment and care received should align with an individual's goals, values and preferences across all care settings and health conditions," said Bill Novelli, Co-Chair of C-TAC. "The Compassionate Care Act will help achieve this by educating the public on the importance of creating a care plan and educating providers on how best to support and guide individuals through this process."
Over the next two decades, the number of people over 65 will nearly double to more than 72 million, or one in five Americans. Tens of millions of us will ultimately develop advanced illness, which occurs when one or more conditions become serious enough that general health and functioning decline, curative treatment begins to lose its effect, and quality of life increasingly becomes the focus of care - a process that continues to the end of life. Documenting one's goals and preferences for care ensures that individuals in this population will receive treatment that is aligned with their wishes. And yet, a recent poll conducted by The John A. Hartford Foundation found that 46 percent of physicians reported frequently or sometimes feeling unsure of how to conduct advance care planning or end-of-life conversations. Additionally, less than 29 percent of the physicians surveyed had received any formal training on how to have these conversations with patients and families.
The Compassionate Care Act aims to address these issues, and others, through federal support for consumer and provider education on advance care planning, development of quality measures, and improvements in technological innovations. Specifically, the bill will create a national campaign to inform the public of the importance of advance care planning and of one's right to participate their health care decisions. Additionally, the legislation will establish a pilot program that will ensure a minimum amount of end-of-life training for medical professionals. The Compassionate Care Act also requires the development of end-of-life quality measures and calls for demonstration projects for the use of telemedicine services in advance care planning.
C-TAC applauds Senators Blumenthal and Capito on the introduction of the Compassionate Care Act and looks forward to continuing its works with policymakers and stakeholders alike in order to ensure that all individuals with advanced illness receive high-quality, comprehensive, and person-centered care that values their goals and honors their wishes.
The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) is a national non-profit, non-partisan alliance of patient and consumer advocacy groups, health care professional and providers, private sector stakeholders, faith-based organizations, and health care payers committed to the vision that all Americans with advanced illness, especially the sickest and most vulnerable, will receive comprehensive, high quality, person-and-family-centered care that is consistent with their goals and values and honors their dignity. For more information about C-TAC, visit TheCTAC.org
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