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Capitol Health Call
August 14, 2013

Senate Hearing Focuses on Advance Care Planning for the End of Life

JAMA. 2013;310(6):572. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.192622

Respecting patients’ wishes regarding advance planning for end-of-life care was the focus of a June 26 hearing by the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

In opening remarks, ranking member Sen Susan Collins (R, Me) cited statistics showing that although more than 90% of individuals say that advance care planning should be a priority, only about a third of the adult population has completed an advance directive. Collins said that because most patients and their physicians do not discuss death or routinely make advance plans for end-of-life care, about a quarter of Medicare funds are spent on care that is geared toward expensive, high-tech rescue interventions.