A New Jersey lawmaker wants the state Medicaid program to pay for planning for end-of-life medical care.
Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Dick Codey would make New Jersey the third state to reimburse providers so low-income residents can meet with doctors to plan out the medical care they’d like if they become incapacitated.
The poor are less likely to have an advance care directive, said Don Pendley, president of the New Jersey Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
“It would spare them a whole lot of unnecessary treatment if they decide that’s not what they want to do,” he said. “People have different attitudes about how much invasive surgery and other treatments they want as they near the end of life.”
Chrissy Buteas, president and CEO of the Home Care Association of New Jersey, said Wednesday that the bill would provide the poor with a measure of dignity.
“The ability to make crucial end-of-life decisions and ensure they will be carried out with the help of a trained medical professional is something every patient deserves as a matter of human dignity,” she said. “This bill would simply expand that right to more and more families.”
The legislation would also encourage more people to talk about their end-of-life wishes, Pendley said, adding that reimbursing providers for planning care should be done nationwide.