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Care Planning Act Introduced

For Immediate Release:
June 10, 2015

Care Planning Act Gives Patients Facing Serious Illness More of a Voice in Their Care

NHPCO supports legislation to strengthen patient-centered care for Americans facing advanced illness.

(Alexandria, Va) – More and more Americans are facing advanced illness, aging with multiple chronic health conditions, and lack the resources to plan for their care and obtain the support they need for themselves and their families.  The Care Planning Act of 2015, legislation that includes provisions to assist in navigating complex health care needs and address challenges in advance care planning, has been introduced by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization enthusiastically supports this legislation and applauds the leadership of Senators Isakson and Warner.

“NHPCO has long championed the need for Americans to discuss their healthcare preferences with their loved ones and have the support of an interdisciplinary team in seeing those preferences realized,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “Self-determination is at the core of the hospice philosophy and care model, and we believe that The Care Planning Act will allow some of our most vulnerable patients to have much more support and direction in their health care.” 

The Care Planning Act creates a new Medicare benefit called Planning Services for those with advanced illness, allowing for a team-based approach of care planning discussions with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. It also creates a pilot program for Advanced Illness Coordination Services to allow for home-based support of patients with multiple and complex chronic conditions.

In introducing the legislation both Senator Warner and Senator Isakson talked about their own personal experience with family members dealing with advanced illness. 

“I know firsthand just how easy it is to put these conversations off because it’s incredibly painful to imagine a loved one becoming so ill that he or she is unable to make decisions about her own medical care,” said Sen. Warner, whose mother, Marjorie, passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 at the age of 81. “This bill takes a patient-centered approach by making sure more information is available to patients and their families, and by ensuring that patients have an opportunity to discuss their treatment options, plan for their future care, and make their choices known.”

“I’m proud to join Sen. Warner in introducing the Care Planning Act today to provide individuals who have been diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness and their loved ones an opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with their doctors, nurses and religious advisors to develop plan for care,” said Sen. Isakson. “I know from my own family’s experience that having a plan makes a world of difference in ensuring a high quality of life during a loved one’s last days.

As an organization committed to increasing awareness of advance care planning, NHPCO provides free information and tools to the public.  NHPCO’s Caring Info has state-specific advance directive forms and information on advance care planning that can be downloaded from its website www.caringinfo.org/stateaddownload.   Each state’s advance directive is legally reviewed on an annual basis and meets each state’s statutory requirements.

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Contact:
Anita Brikman
NHPCO
Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications
Ph: 703-837-3154

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