Healthcare groups, lawmakers push Medicare to promote advance directives

Although the CMS reimburses clinicians for advance care planning during Medicare patients’ yearly wellness visits, the agency has yet to encourage patients to set up these plans. It shows: Two-thirds of American adults do not have advance directives to guide their healthcare if they become unable to communicate.

The CMS currently advocates a low-tech, hands-off approach to advance care directives, advising people via its website to keep copies of the directives “where you can easily find them”; give copies to healthcare providers, proxies, and family and friends; and to carry a note “in your wallet” saying you have an advance directive.