Medicare patients who choose hospice or palliative care are entitled to participate in their treatment plan and have the right to effective pain management, the right to refuse treatment, and the right to choose their physician, according to a soon-to-be-published rule from the CMS. The changes are considered the first overhaul of hospice-related regulations since 1983.
End-of-life care has changed markedly in the past 25 years, and it is time to update our regulations to reflect advances in medicine and hospice industry practices as well as patient rights, said Kerry Weems, acting administrator of the CMS, in a news release about the rule, which is the first to outline a detailed list of patient rights even though many hospice patients already participate in their treatment plans.
The 758-page regulationalso referred to as the hospice conditions of participationreflects comments received since a proposed rule was issued in May 2005, the CMS said. The agencys regulation will be published in the Federal Register on June 5. (For a longer version of this story, please click here.) -- by Jessica Zigmond