A Loophole In State’s Assisted-Dying Law
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that though the law gives new rights to terminally ill patients, health care providers face few obligations. Also in the news, how Medicare can help pay the tab for end-of-life advice.
San Francisco Chronicle:
California’s Assisted-Dying Loophole: Some Doctors Won’t Help Patients Die
Judy Dale died of cancer in her San Francisco home in September, in agony, after being denied the pain-relieving medication she might have received under the state’s aid-in-dying law that had taken effect three months earlier. A lawsuit by her children will determine whether UCSF Medical Center, where Dale first went for treatment, was responsible for her suffering by allegedly concealing its oncologists’ decision not to provide life-ending drugs to patients who ask for them. (Egelko, 8/12)
End-Of-Life Advice: More Than 500,000 Chat On Medicare’s Dime
The 90-year-old woman in the San Diego-area nursing home was quite clear, said Dr. Karl Steinberg. She didn’t want aggressive measures to prolong her life. If her heart stopped, she didn’t want CPR. But when Steinberg, a palliative care physician, relayed those wishes to the woman’s daughter, the younger woman would have none of it. ... Steinberg used an increasingly popular tool to resolve the impasse last month. He brought mother and daughter together for an advance-care planning session, an end-of-life consultation that’s now being paid for by Medicare. In 2016, the first year health care providers were allowed to bill for the service, nearly 575,000 Medicare beneficiaries took part in the conversations, new federal data obtained by Kaiser Health News show. (Aleccia, 8/14)