Opinion: Access to Palliative Care Needs to Stay in New Health Bill

Elisha Waldman, MD, FAAHPM, medical director of the pediatric palliative care service at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at Columbia University Medical Center, has penned an insightful piece on the importance of palliative care interventions in light of a potential repeal of the Affordable care Act (ACA). In her article, Dr. Waldman uses the story of her work with a family of two children facing serious illnesses, one of  which is benefitting from palliative care interventions in the home hospice setting. One clause of the ACA–the concurrent care clause– allows children on Medicaid to access hospice benefits at the same time that they are receiving disease-directed therapy. With this clause in jeapordy under a new administration, Dr. Waldman is urging lawmakers to take notice of its need.

“It is because of that crucial clause that this family is already able to receive the support of hospice at this point in time, rather than having to wait until very late in the disease course or be forced to choose now between hospice and continuing to see their primary specialists,” writes Dr. Waldman. “If the ACA is repealed without a mechanism to preserve concurrent care for children, this sort of scenario could never happen.” Click here to read the full story.

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