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    End-of-life care planning advancements: What health execs should know

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    Going forward, Parker predicts more states will pass euthanasia laws. “I think it is a national social trend like legalizing small amounts of marijuana, legalizing gay marriage, and allowing patients autonomy over their end-of-life choices,” he says. “Euthanasia is part of the national movement that politics is not going to halt.”

    Managed care organizations, which have both financial and clinical responsibility, “are extremely sensitive, as they should be, to any appearance of conflict of interest in promoting euthanasia,” Parker says. “Specifically, accountable care organizations (ACOs) cannot say that they are ‘interested’ in having patients die sooner in order to save money. As a consequence of this sensitivity, I think managed-care organizations have pretty much stayed out of the debate.”

    Parker says oncologists and hematologists are often reluctant to halt chemotherapy/radiation and transition patients to hospice and palliative care. “I think this is an area that frankly deserves a lot more attention,” he says. “These treatments can sometimes be deleterious in the last months of life.”

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