Brian Andrew Tully Comments on Medicare’s Proposal to Pay Medical Professionals for End-Of-Life Counseling for Patients

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Melville, NY — Brian Andrew Tully, Partner, Tully & Winkelman, P.C. and President, ElderCare Resource Center, Inc., says Medicare’s proposal to reimburse qualified medical personnel who speak to patients about end-of-life care should address a critical need in having conversations about advance care planning, but added the conversation should go both ways: one with the doctor offering options and the other with the patient offering their input.

On July 8, Medicare announced that it would propose reimbursing medical professionals who have face-to-face discussions with their patients on whether or not they would want to kept alive, even if they become very ill during the later stages of life, and, if so, how they wish to be kept alive. Those eligible for reimbursement would be nurse practitioners, physician assistants and doctors who speak to their patients, as well as the patient’s family members and caregivers. The proposed reimbursement rate has yet to be determined.

While many groups claim this proposal will help patients have a conversation with their doctors about advance care planning, others say that some physicians may steer their patients towards skipping life-sustaining treatment altogether.

“If the doctor who is being paid will be allowed to spend a few minutes discussing the options and what the patient wants, then this proposal would be a worthwhile endeavor,” Mr. Tully said. “Doctors should recommend that their patients sit with an experienced elder care attorney and draft the proper advance directives — such as health care proxies and living wills — so that the patient’s wishes can be in writing and shared with the family and their medical team, if the need arises.”

In addition to being a Partner with the Firm, Mr. Tully is also the President of the ElderCare Resource Center, Inc., which was founded in 2004. The ElderCare Resource Center, Inc. exists to be the community resource for support, answers and expertise in regard to advance planning and informed decision making about present and future long-term health care. The Resource Center offers over 200 books and brochures, a website with over 2,200 links (www.ElderCareResourceCenter.Info) and a comprehensive referral database. In recognition of their community service efforts, the ElderCare Resource Center, Inc. was voted the 2005 Educational Business of the Year by The Suffolk Nassau Regional Business Partnership.

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