- As humanity grapples with the social, economic, and political disruption caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many healthcare systems across the globe have been working to set appropriate expectations for patients being treated during these challenging times. As of June 8, 2020, there are close to 2 million COVID-19 cases in the United States with 112,000 deaths [coronavirus.jhu.edu]. As patient volumes increased, healthcare systems and state and federal governments scrambled to address critical shortages of COVID-19 test kits, personal protective equipment, pharmaceutical drugs, and medical equipment such as mechanical ventilators.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced 2 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes that allow clinicians to bill for time spent discussing advance care planning (ACP) effective January 1, 2016. As defined by Sudore et al,1 ACP is “a process that supports adults at any age or stage of health in understanding and sharing their personal values, life goals, and preferences regarding future medical care….[with] the goal…that people receive medical care that is consistent with their values, goals and preferences during serious and chronic illness.” Proponents applauded this new policy as a method to incentivize ACP, potentially increasing the uptake of ACP and thereby improving the delivery of medical care that aligns with the patients’ goals, values, and preferences.