Palliative, End-of-Life Care Options Regulation Finalized

A provision  included in the state’s 2012 Health Care Cost Containment Law (Chapter 224) on palliative and end-of-life care options is being realized through a final regulation issued by the Department of Public Health.

It is now a patients legal right to receive information about palliative care and hospice from a facility as well as their full range of options for treatment, if the condition warrants either approach. Massachusetts hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities are expected to comply.

The Home Care Alliance helped advocate for the inclusion of this provision in the law and also commented with several other provider groups and organizations at a public hearing when the regulations were proposed. At that time, the definition of palliative care in the proposed regulation was more in line with hospice services. The Alliance, among many other groups, expressed concern that palliative care is a team-based approach to an advanced illness, but not necessarily linked to the expected outcome of that illness as with hospice.

DPH has released a guide explaining the right to these options in several languages for consumers, a summary of what was changed from the proposed to the final regulation, and the regulation language itself. The list of resources can be viewed here on a DPH webpage.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

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