This is our very own Senator Warner and this was taken from his website. I have highlighted the "good parts" so your eyes don't glaze over like mine did. Also, if you could take note at the bottomn is a list of the "supporters" of the bill, because this bill is about one thing, how to make money off of dieing people. I am sorry if that sounds blunt, but have the American People become so lazy that we need laws to make us inform ourselves. No doubt about it, dealing with terminal illness is very stressful and sometimes unexpected, but every case is as unique as the individual. As Thomas Jefferson said, "There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people"
In June 2009, Senator Warner introduced the Senior Navigation and Planning Act of 2009, health reform legislation that will strengthen the quality and availability of counseling, support services, and care management for patients and families coping with life-limiting illnesses.
The legislation includes the following:
*Enhanced Medicare and Medicaid Coverage of Advanced Illness Care Management Services: Beginning in 2011, individuals diagnosed with a life expectancy of 18 months or less will have access to a new advanced illness care management benefit administered by hospice providers. The current Medicare Hospice benefit only applies to individuals diagnosed with a life expectancy of six months or less, and it requires patients to give up curative treatment. The advanced illness care management benefit includes palliative care consultation services, patient and family counseling, respite services, and in-home caregiver training, while also allowing for the continuation of curative treatments.
* A Requirement for Physicians to Provide Certain Medicare Beneficiaries with Information on Advance Directives and other Planning Tools: Beginning in 2014, Medicare reimbursements will not be provided until physicians provide individuals with information on advanced care planning for patients specifically diagnosed with end-stage cancer, renal disease, congestive heart failure, progressive neurodegenerative disorder, oxygen-dependent chronic pulmonary disease, or any other condition with a similar level of medical necessity determined appropriate by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
*Incentives for Providers to Achieve Accreditation and Certification in Hospice and Palliative Care: If an eligible inpatient hospital, inpatient critical access hospital, and skilled nursing facility has in place an accredited palliative care program and meets utilization criteria, the hospital or skilled nursing facility would receive a Medicare bonus payment of 2% for fiscal years 2011 through 2016, and a bonus payment of 1% for fiscal years 2017 through 2020. After fiscal year 2020, if an eligible hospital or skilled nursing facility does not have in place an accredited palliative care program, the hospital would see reimbursements decreased by 1%. Exceptions will be crafted for smaller hospitals and nursing homes.
* More Comprehensive Discharge Planning for Facilities: By January 1, 2013, discharge procedures for hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and hospice programs must include a discussion with patients and their families about the general course of treatment expected, the likely impact on the length of life and function, and the procedures they should use to secure help if an unexpected situation arises. Caregivers and families, with the patient’s consent, or the patient’s surrogate decision maker, can also receive this information.
* Increased Public Awareness about the Importance of End-of-life Planning: To increase the awareness of advance directive planning, HHS will design and implement a national education campaign to raise public awareness of the importance of planning for care near the end of life. This grant-funded campaign will focus on the need for readily available legal documents that clearly express an individual’s wishes through advance directives, including living wills, comfort care orders, and durable powers of attorney for health care. In addition, it directs HHS to launch a consumer-friendly Web site, and establish a national toll-free information line for consumers on advanced directives and other planning tools. HHS also will be directed to establish a national advisory panel that includes representatives from the healthcare, religious, and family caregiver communities, and assembles other end-of-life medical expertise, to evaluate and recommend improvements to the program.
This legislation does not deny or withhold healthcare services. However, it does recognize that overall health reform should include a thoughtful process that informs patients, their families, and caregivers on how to navigate and think-through difficult decisions about when and how long to pursue treatments at the end-of-life.
Senator Warner's Senior Navigation and Planning Act received support from leading health groups, including:
* National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
* United Health Group
* Alzheimer's Foundation
* ARCH National Respite Coalition
* Well Spouse Association
* National Association for Home Care & Hospice
* National Family Caregivers Association
* American Association for Long Term Care Nursing
* Duke University Divinity School’s Institute on Care at the End of Life
* National Association of Social Workers
One final observation about the supports of this legislation, if we provide tax money for these associations they have "reason" to encourage hospice care over a cure. Where is the incentive to actually try to cure these diseases? and why do our tax dollars have to pay for it?