The Patient Choice and Quality Care Act of 2017 would provide new ways to test, measure, and improve options for patients seeking advance care planning

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has cosponsored bipartisan legislation designed to give people with serious illnesses new tools to plan for their care. The Patient Choice and Quality Care Act of 2017 offers a person-centered approach to planning for care and treatment of patients with advanced illness by testing and evaluating new models for the delivery of care to patients with serious illnesses, and enhancing existing Medicare coverage for end-of-life services to help ensure that the care a patient receives is in line with their values and choices. The legislation also provides $50 million in grants to promote public and healthcare provider education about advance care planning and care.

“We need to expand the options and information available to patients who have been diagnosed with serious and advanced illnesses, along with their family members and caregivers,” Klobuchar said. “This bipartisan legislation will provide people with the resources they need to have these important discussions with their care teams and their loved ones to help ensure that their preferences and values are honored.”

The Patient Choice and Quality Care Act of 2017 was introduced by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). In addition to Klobuchar, the legislation was also cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Phil Roe (R-TN).

This legislation has the support of health care and elder advocacy organizations across the country, including: Alzheimer’s Association, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) American Bar Association, American Geriatrics Society, American Heart Association, American Osteopathic Association (AOA), American Society of Aging, Cambia Health Solutions, Capital Caring Hospice, Catholic Health Association, Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), Commonwealth Care Alliance, Compassus, LeadingAge, National Association for Home Care & Hospice, National Coalition on Healthcare, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), National Partnership for Hospice Innovation (NPHI), National POLST Task Force, Pew Charitable Trusts, Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network, Third Way, and Visiting Nurses Associations of America.

The Patient Choice and Quality Care Act:

  • Establishes an advance illness care and management Medicare model, which would test new ways to enable individuals to voluntarily engage in a team-based planning process designed to align the care a patient receives with his or her goals of care, values, and preferences. Members of an interdisciplinary team would work together to meet the needs of the patient and caregivers by providing important information and services.
  • Provides $50 million in grants for increasing public awareness of advance care planning and advance illness care.
  • Enhances Medicare’s existing coverage of advance care planning services by allowing appropriately trained or experienced clinical social workers to provide advance care planning services, and ensuring that costs are not a barrier to patients using these services.
  • Facilitates increased coordination and alignment between the public and private sector regarding quality measures, including a review of current measuring concepts and preferred practices in end-of-life care and a National Institutes of Health study on the development of quality measures related to key gaps, such as ensuring that care aligns with patient wishes, to better understand the population that would benefit from palliative care and advance care planning, and decide the appropriate transitions to hospice. This includes an annual study issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • Improves of policies related to the use and portability of advance directives and portable orders by requiring Medicare providers of services and entities to follow individuals’ preferences, regardless of the state or site of care.
  • Establishes an Advance Care Planning Advisory Council to advise the Health and Human Services Secretary on these issues and institutes additional requirements for facilities to assure that care plans made while an individual receives care are appropriately documented prior to discharge and sent to appropriate providers and facilities upon discharge.