CMS hospice demo rep­re­sents a step for­ward

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the ar­ti­cle “CMS hospice plans draw mixed re­ac­tions” ( Mod­ern­Health­care. com, March 19), the up­com­ing CMS hospice demon­stra­tion is a crit­i­cal step in the evo­lu­tion of end-of-life care.

I ex­pe­ri­enced this sit­u­a­tion first­hand two years ago, when my mother died from ad­vanced lung cancer.

It was in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to me at the time that we had to nav­i­gate a com­plex web of co­or­di­na­tion from mul­ti­ple providers and time her tran­si­tion to a dis­as­so­ci­ated in­home hospice provider in a way that max­i­mized her qual­ity of life. The sit­u­a­tion was ex­ac­er­bated by her mul­ti­ple co­mor­bidi­ties and the sub­par qual­ity of care by her hospice team that prompted in­ves­tiga- tions af­ter her death by both the CMS and state of­fi­cials.

Suf­fice it to say, I firmly be­lieve we all have the right to die with the best qual­ity of life that aligns with our per­sonal be­liefs ( i. e., do not re­sus­ci­tate/do not in­tu­bate).

By es­tab­lish­ing dual cov­er­age, the CMS would go a long way to­ward cre­at­ing the bridge care that’s nec­es­sary for com­plex cases. In my mother’s case, it would have elim­i­nated a vast amount of co­or­di­na­tion and ad­vo­cacy that I found my­self do­ing at a time when all I wanted to fo­cus on was her ev­ery wak­ing minute.

Though I would do it all again in a heart­beat, I do hope the demon­stra­tion prompts a nec­es­sary evo­lu­tion in treat­ment pro­to­cols that more specif­i­cally de­fine “cu­ra­tive” and “hospice,” in or­der to cover care that com­fort­ably ex­tends life. Kelly Stein Frisco, Texas

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