Physician’s Message

Guess Who’s Missing From Your Person-Centered Care Team . . .

No one knows any better than you just how strapped-for-time you are these days!

While more and more demands and pressing expectations are heaped on the shoulders of America’s physicians, no one has yet figured out how to add a single hour more to their already over-stretched days. So, we here at Sacient ACP imagine that the national news announcing that all Medicare patients now have an insured outpatient benefit to engage in in-depth advance care planning conversations must have been met with a decidedly “mixed bag” of reactions from within the physician community itself.

It’s not that you don’t care. Few doctors would argue anymore that having a comprehensive and person-centered care plan in place long before a medical crisis occurs is not an extremely valuable thing, both for immediate treatment decisions in the crisis moment and for longer-term treatment and recovery outcomes. Knowing in advance any patient’s personal values, choices, quality-of-life preferences, goals for treatment and well-informed consent prior to the occurrence or onset of an incapacitating condition benefits everyone, including the patient’s family and you, his or her doctor. Besides, it’s just plain good medical practice that has, in recent years, been well-researched, duly validated and widely documented.

While we understand that some physician practices and hospital systems have welcomed, and indeed embraced, the national movement toward increased advance care planning and patient advance directives documentation with systematic zeal, we also understand that only about 14 percent of physicians nationwide have actually conducted these conversations with their Medicare patients since this reimbursed benefit became available to them in January of 2016. And the issue is not only one of not having the available time to conduct thorough ACP Conversations with each of their patients, but the simple fact is that many doctors feel unprepared, uncomfortable, or awkward in conducting these tough, and occasionally heart-wrenching discussions with patients and their family members, especially when the end of life is imminent. Many physicians have said that they just don’t want to remove what little hope a family member is desperately holding on to. Because we understand these tough issues, and have been trained to deal with them with sensitivity and compassion within the parameters of your own personal comfort level, Sacient ACP is here to help. Together, we can do better.

Truly…It’s a ‘Win-Win’

Got a patient whose medical condition has progressed to the point where an in-depth advance care planning conversation would be the medically prudent or morally responsible thing to do?

…Or a patient who has simply asked you for an ACP conversation? If so, please give us a call. Make the referral. We will be happy to arrange an ACP conversation appointment with your patient, in your office. We’ll schedule it directly with your patient for a time when you will already be present in the office, but you won’t have to directly participate in the discussion itself. At the end of the process, we will provide your office with a file copy of your patient’s executed Advance Medical Directive as our courtesy, with no cost to you or your practice. In fact, doing the right thing won’t cost you even a trifling thing at all.