NAELA Calls for Paying Doctors to Discuss Advanced Care Planning

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Letter to CMS Urges Coverage Under Medicare

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Death is an inevitable occurrence of life. Advanced care planning and directives help ensure that Americans can die with dignity.

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) called for Medicare to pay doctors for the time they spend with their patients discussing advanced care planning in a letter sent to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Recently, the American Medical Association created current procedural terminology (CPT) codes for physicians "to report services related to advanced directive plan discussions with patients." NAELA believes that CMS should adopt these codes and provide for adequate reimbursement.

"Proper planning helps to reduce stress among family members and allows people to spend their last moments in a manner that meets their wishes," said NAELA President Bradley J. Frigon, CELA, CAP.

NAELA members are attorneys who are experienced and trained to provide legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of people as they age. Its members work on a daily basis with aging Americans and their families to help fulfill their clients’ end-of-life wishes by preparing legal documents that provide advance directives in the event of death or incapacity – documents such as living wills and powers of attorney.

By law, people have the right to control their medical treatment and be provided with enough information to understand the consequences of their decisions. Yet Medicare does not presently reimburse doctors for the time spent discussing end-of-life plans with their patients.

"Death is an inevitable occurrence of life. Advanced care planning and directives help ensure that Americans can die with dignity," said Frigon.

About NAELA
Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of NAELA is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org.

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Abby Matienzo, Communications Associate
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