In the News

AzHHA awarded $1 million grant to aid end-of-life care & planning services

STATE

Our Turn:  End-of-Life discussions are vital                                                      November 13, 2015

Having the talk about end-of-life wishes                                                         December 11, 2014

Current Legislation:

Arizona is Forging Ahead with Advance Care Planning!

This week, National Healthcare Decision Week, communities across the country are holding educational sessions to inform the public about the importance of advance care planning for everyone 18 years or older.   Completing one’s Healthcare Power of Attorney and Advance Directive is frequently called “estate planning for the heart” because it helps us feel confident that our wishes for end-of-life care will be honored while also taking the burden off family members to make difficult decisions for us.   Yet, until now, these vital documents frequently have not been available to healthcare providers when their patients have needed them.   

This week, Governor Ducey signed the Advance Directive Bill that requires the state to establish a process for healthcare providers, including emergency medicine service providers, to access the state’s Advance Directive Registry on or before December 31, 2018, making our choices for end-of-life care readily accessible to our healthcare teams.  The State Registry for Advance Directives was created in 2004 and currently houses 38,000 healthcare directives.  By providing our healthcare providers with immediate, electronic access to these documents, the Registry will optimize communication (diminish anxiety and disputes among loved ones), minimize unwanted interventions, and help align care with our individual wishes.   

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) has been a strong supporter of this new law, which is in direct alignment with the goals of its program, Thoughtful Life Conversations.  Thoughtful Life Conversations seeks to empower Arizonans to make known their life wishes and care directives, and to equip their healthcare teams with the resources to honor them.  For more information on this program, the State Registry for Advance Directives, or other matters pertaining to end-of-life care, please contact Sandy Severson at sseverson@azhha.org.

NATIONAL

Wrongful Life Lawsuits                                                                                      April 10, 2017

Current Legislation:

Care Planning Act, S. 1549, introduced bySenators Isakson (R-GA) and Warner (D-VA) would direct CMS to:

  • Launch a demo project on advanced illness coordination service coordination;
  • Develop quality measures on EOL care; and
  • Appropriate documentation/transfer of care plans

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Improve EOL Care

  • A new bipartisan piece of legislation introduced to the House by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Phil Roe (R-TN) aims to improve end-of-life care for Americans. The Personalize Your Care Act 2.0 will improve the accessibility of advance care planning, establish a demonstration program to create new models of advanced illness care management, and provide high quality tools and training for patients and providers. 

  • Key features of the legislation include providing grants to states for Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) programs, expanding palliative care training resources for providers, and making POLST forms easier to access in a patient's electronic medical record.