Medicare to Pay for End of Life Consults

In 2016, Medicare will begin paying doctors to consult with patients on how and where they would like to be cared for as they near the end of life.

Starting in January, Medicare will pay doctors to consult with patients on how and where they would like to be cared for as they near the end of life. This is an important step in continuing to improve communication between patients and providers about end-of-life decisions.

South Carolina has been working on improvements in this area since 2010 when SCHA and several other organizations including the South Carolina Medical Association, The Carolinas Center, South Carolina AARP, South Carolina Nurses Association, South Carolina Bar, and South Carolina Chaplains Society established the South Carolina Coalition for the Care of the Seriously Ill (SC CSI)

Partners in the SC CSI have been working to educate the public and health care workers about advance care planning, promoting best practices around chronic and serious illnesses, and celebrating National and South Carolina Healthcare Decisions Day.

The Carolinas Center just released a Fact Sheet on Advance Care Planning Services for Reimbursement CY 2016 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule for providers and practitioners to help understand the change in reimbursement.

“This will lead to more patient focused conversations and decisions around how someone nearing the end of life may want to be cared for,” said Karen Reeves, vice president of Risk Management and Accreditation at SCHA. “These conversations can be uneasy, but done in advance can give all of us, as the patient, a voice in our final health care decisions.”