Good information is a critical part of decision-making

Dear Editor:

As our nation's leaders grapple with health care reform, the public is closely scrutinizing changes that have been proposed. That's just as it should be. Health care affects us all in the most fundamental way, and Americans have the right to know what they're paying for - and what's available to them.

As the debate continues, there is bound to be confusion. I'd like to clear up confusion over one proposal that is drawing attention. The House version of health care reform legislation includes a provision for Medicare-covered consultations with medical professionals so that patients will have helpful information about care options. The confusion lies in whether or not these consultations would be mandatory for Medicare beneficiaries.

They would not. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has examined the legislation closely and has concluded that participating in these consultations would be voluntary. In other words, the ball would be in the patient's court. Good information is a critical part of decision-making, and I applaud our lawmakers for helping Americans get the information they need to make well-informed choices.

Janet L. Jones
President and CEO, Alive Hospice
1718 Patterson St.
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 327-1085