senators urge concurrent care

Friday, February 16, 2007

Senators Urge “Concurrent Care”

In a recent letter to the President, a bipartisan group of ten Senators urged him to fix the health care system now. The full text of the letter can be found here.

In the letter they set out six points that health care legislation should cover. Point # 5 says:

5) Encourage more cost-effective chronic and compassionate end-of-life care. Studies show that an increase in health care spending does not always mean an increase in quality of outcomes. All Americans should be empowered to make decisions about their end of life care, not be forced into hospice care without other options. We hope to work with you on policies that address these issues.

Very interesting. “Americans should. . . not be forced into hospice care without other options.” That could be interpreted many different ways, but, according to NHPCO, this letter goes along with a bill that would allow “concurrent care” for hospice patients. As I understand it, if this bill passes, the debate over which treatments you must stop before being accepted into hospice will be over. Anyone who qualifies for hospice will be able to seek treatment while having hospice working to control symptoms and improve quality of life.

I can’t begin to tell you how much that would change hospice in America. NHPCO supports the legislation, and so do I!

(Thanks to NHPCO for pointing this out. It should be making bigger news in the hospice world.)


Daniel C

Who is ever “forced” into hospice care? It sounds to me like a different way of phrasing a patient’s right to demand futile disease-directed treatment while receiving hospice care. Hardly cost-effective.


Is there a link to wording of the proposed legislation somewhere? There’s got to be a line in the sand somewhere with regards to psychological implications of continuing treatement and also being on hospice as related to patient care…not to mention potential for abuse in “loose” eligibility requirements for hospice entry.