A recent study published on JUne 16, 2015 in the “Population and Development Review” focused on the fact that 1/3 of the US population are informal care-givers and provide, as a whole, about 1.2 billion hours of unpaid work weekly. Just a few days before this study was published, Senators Mark Warner of Virginia and Johnny Isakson of Georgia introduced the Care Planning Act of 2015. This is a wonderful event. The bill is designed to assist families who are dealing with long term care-giving issues, stresses and challenges. The journey to passage may be difficult, but it is a beginning.
An emphasis of this bill is to look at the development of a care plan, especially as it involved end of life issues. The Coation to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) in Washington has issued a detailed one page overview of the bill. An important paragraph reads: “Eligible individuals with serious or life-threatening illness may elect to 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 the interdisciplinary team would work together to meet the physical, medical, psychosocial, emotional and spititual needs of the patient andcare-givers by providing important information, including:
*assisting the patient in defining and articulating goals of care, values and preferences.
*providing information about disease trajectory
*discussing and evaluating how a range of treatment options align with the patient’s gold
*preparing and sharing recognized documentation stating the patient’s goals of care, preferences and values, preferred decision making strategies, and plan of care
*referrals to medical or social service providers for care consistent with the plan
*providing training to the patient and care-givers to enable them to implement the plan.
The planning services, according the the act, would be reimbursed by Medicare B under physician fee schedule.
The introduction of this Care Planning Act is a first step in developing a real dialogue on the challenges and realities of care-giving and options in that care-giving that may be open to a family and an individual, especially as life ebbs. No doubt this bill will encounter some rough going. It would be valuable to see if your state has a similar law or if one is being contemplated. The is a discssion that must continue since so many of our families are now engaged in this journey.
You can get the complete details of the bill by going to www.thectac.org
Rabbi Richard F. Address
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.