Virginia Senator Mark Warner introduced legislation to improve health care for seniors and other patients with terminal illnesses. The bill proposes increased counseling, support systems, and advanced care management, and aims to improve the quality of care by helping patients make informed decisions.
Warner aims to reduce Medicare spending by increasing access to information and support systems to better plan patients’ last year of life, as 27 percent of current medicare spending is focused on end of life care. The bill hopes to decrease Medicare spending by 15 billion dollars over 10 years.
According to Warner’s press release, The Senior Navigation and Planning Act of 2009 will:
enhance Medicare and Medicaid coverage of advanced illness care management services
require doctors to provide patients with information on living wills and other planning tools;
- give providers incentives to achieve accreditation and certification in hospice and palliative care
increase public awareness about the importance of end-of-life planning.
The bill has already received support from the AARP, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association.
A video of Warner introducing the bill on the senate floor can be seen here.