posted by Alicia Caramenico
on February 2, 2016
As the health care system focuses on improving end-of-life care, health plans like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts are stepping up to the challenge.
“Everyone, regardless of economic, cultural, racial, or geographic differences, must have their choices and values heard and respected,” BCBSMA CEO Andrew Dreyfus wrote in a Boston Globe op-ed. “Everyone deserves the chance to live the best life possible, to the very end.”
Dreyfus saw how important end-of-life care was to his brother and parents, and knew BCBSMA must do whatever it can to honor the choices, preferences, and values of its members with advanced illnesses. That’s why the Massachusetts health plan is expanding member benefits to allow the earlier use of hospice care, developing a new program to help individuals with advanced illnesses receive more care at home, and adding advance care planning to its employee wellness program.
A Boston Globe article highlighted the comprehensive end-of-life benefits offered by BCBSMA and noted that health plans play a key role in getting more patients to discuss end-of-life care with their doctors. For example, BSBCMA is changing payments for advance care planning to include visits with psychologists, social workers, and other mental health workers, with whom patients can have important conversations about where and how they want to live out their last days.
Every family is impacted at some point by the need for advanced illness care. As efforts to improve end-of-life care gain momentum, health care organizations can look to what health plans like BCBSMA are doing to meet the health care needs of patients with advanced illness.