The New Medicare Fee Schedule Honors Doctors with Reimbursement Codes to Discuss Advance Care Planning
In the Fee Schedule for Medicare Physicians recently released by CMS, the government took an important step by including two codes allowing doctors treating Medicare patients to be reimbursed for having advance care planning discussions. MyDirectives, the world’s first free-to-consumer all digital advance care planning platform applauds this step and encourages the healthcare industry to continue to raise the bar to ensure every American, not just Medicare beneficiaries, can have confidence that they will have a voice in their care, especially during a health emergency.
As an accident can happen at any time, we should all have emergency, critical and advance care plans. Given the clarity of thought that should go into making a good quality plan, the time to do so is often better at the “kitchen table,” not the “operating table.” 21st century tools like MyDirectives.com and MyDirectives MOBILE™ help consumers to do so. Everyone should be able to clearly express their goals, preferences and priorities for their medical treatments and appoint healthcare agents in case there is an accident and they cannot communicate.
It is a fact that most medical schools and professional continuing education curricula do not teach doctors how to handle the advance care planning conversation. Given the new fee schedule, doctors might feel pressure to initiate a discussion they are not equipped to handle. MyDirectives can help doctors solve this challenge. If consumers, prior to a routine doctor appointment, were prompted to begin creating their own digital advance care plan, then the limited time in each doctor/patient consultation can focus on improving the existing plan, rather than taking time to initiate and justify the topic from the beginning.
Consumers are already comfortable using web and mobile services for a variety of business and social needs. Today’s healthcare industry is rapidly catching up to embrace those services in a safe and secure manner. Doctors value having insight into the goals of care for their patients, and this acknowledgment by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services helps focus attention on this critical care issue.