Learn How To…Talk To Your Doctor…and never hear the ugly words ‘Death Panels’ again!

Just in case you forgot how “Death Panels” became The LIE of the YEAR in 2009, click on this link, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2014/dec/15/look-back-politifacts-lie-year/   — skip down to the “PolitiFacts LIE of the year for 2009.

How many people died in the past six years, without the benefit of an “end of life” conversation with their physician(s)? Is this on Sarah Palin’s conscience?

After I read latest newsletter from The Conversation Project, they gave me permission to post it on my Blog. Please read the three links embedded in the article. It’s available in English, Spanish, French and Mandarin. Just type your answers directly into the Starter Kit, revise when appropriate, and email it to family and friends. http://theconversationproject.org/starter-kit/intro/

Medicare Plans to Pay Doctors for Counseling on End of Life

Could it be — the final obituary of The Death Panels?

Yesterday we were thrilled to read that Medicare announced they will cover provider/patient time for conversations about end-of-life care.

Since we launched The Conversation Project in 2012, we’ve collaborated and worked alongside so many likeminded organizations and institutions to guide and support this ruling into effect.

A collective pat on the back goes out to everyone who realized this conversation is not controversial, it’s crucial. Three cheers to everyone who put politics aside to do what’s right for our aging population – who need guidance and support as they determine how they want to live at the end-of-life.

The Institute of Medicine’s report,* Dying in America, which was released last fall, was instrumental in putting this topic back on the national agenda. It found that — the country’s system for handling end-of-life care is largely broken and should be overhauled at almost every level. Medicare’s new ruling is a wonderful step toward achieving this.

We know that 90 percent of Americans say it’s important to discuss end-of-life desires but only 30 percent actually do. We believe incentivizing these conversations within the medical community and compensating providers for their time is a great start, but it won’t completely close the gap.

There’s still more to do for patients and providers, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves to continue our work.

To assist conversations with primary care providers we hope patients will download and complete our Conversation Starter Kit, and bring it with them to their doctor’s office to guide that discussion. Our values-led, step-by-step guide can provide a starting place to think about what it is you want most.

We hope providers and health care institutions will educate themselves on what it means to be “Conversation Ready,” by reading the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s recent white paper which serves as a framework for improving end-of life care. Providers should also consider enrolling in IHI’s free IHI Open School Course to learn how to be more effective in having these conversations with their patients and receive free CEUs.

Many medical practitioners, while excellent at their craft, lack the training to begin these crucial conversations – ensuring quality and compassionate care the patient wants and needs. For many doctors, conversations that focus on “what matters to you?” in addition to “what’s the matter with you?” are unchartered territory.

Congratulations to all who made this ruling possible. We’ve reached a tipping point and we are ready to dive in and continue to share our mission and message far and wide with the public, ensuring that individuals and families have end-of-life care conversations with each other and their doctors, and that ultimately their wishes are both expressed and respected.

The Conversation Project Team

*You can download a free PDF Book, DYING IN AMERICA http://iom.nationalacademies.org/Reports/2014/Dying-In-America-Improving-Quality-and-Honoring-Individual-Preferences-Near-the-End-of-Life.aspx