Sunday, December 26, 2010

NYT: Obama Returns to End-of-Life Plan That Caused Stir

This article will certainly stir lots of controversy. don't know if that is good or bad.  It indicates that a recent rule issued by CMS contains the optional end of life counseling

"the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment."

I don't know which regulation this refers to as I have not found it, perhaps it is something to be released that is not on an hhs web site, or something released recently but did not get attention until robert pear, author of this article at the NY Times wrote.  I cannot imagine that a controversial item like this went unnoticed before, so perhaps it is something that is about to be released.  In any event, this artcile will certainly stir up a great deal of attention. Since Pear is a very credible reporter that has worked for the NYtimes for years, this is not something that is written by a wild eyed reporter.  Unfortunately, the article does not indciate to which rule it is referring.

I personally think that such counseling is a very desirable practice, but also know that there are many folks that will be bitterly opposed to this provision.  If a person has a terminal condition and is suffering considerable pain, then it is worthwhile for the doctors to inform the patient and family as to the options there are to end unnecessary suffering.

Given my concern that the president has not sold this legislation to the public adequately, this will not help the cause. 

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