The headline this year may be that Medicare will pay for end-of-life counseling. “So far, the 2016 change getting the most attention is that Medicare will pay clinicians to counsel patients about options for care at the end of life. The voluntary counseling would have been authorized earlier by President Barack Obama’s health care law but for the outcry fanned by former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who charged it would lead to “death panels.” Hastily dropped from the law, the personalized counseling has been rehabilitated through Medicare rules.”
However, cost-control efforts may be the more interesting piece – attempts to “fostering teamwork among clinicians, emphasizing timely preventive services and paying close attention to patients’ transitions between hospital and home.” These changes focus on Accountable Care organizations (“ACO’s”) conceptually allowed under ObamaCare. This year you will be able to pick your ACO, previously you could just opt out.
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