GULFPORT, Miss. – The Compassus program serving Gulfport and the surrounding areas joins the American Institute of Preventive Medicine in observing Wise Health Care Consumer Month this February. This month is dedicated to informing and empowering consumers to understand their health care options, communicate with their care providers, and make educated decisions about their own health.
“It’s extremely important to be a smart health care consumer, especially as you age,” said Carrie Mattern, executive director for Compassus – MS Gulf Coast. “We encourage seniors to set aside time with their physicians to learn about their care options and share their individual goals, values and preferences.”
Studies have found eight out of 10 Americans would prefer in-home care if facing a life-limiting illness, yet many remain unaware that hospice care is a choice available to them.
Discussing end-of-life care preferences, such as hospice care, with physicians enables patients to take control of the type of care they receive and when they receive it. These conversations, known as advance care planning, allow patients to create a roadmap of the medical care they are to receive in the event they are unable to speak for themselves due to illness or injury.
Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began paying physicians for these important discussions about end-of-life wishes with Medicare beneficiaries.
“Now that physicians will be reimbursed for the time to hold these important conversations with patients, our hope is that hospice services will be used more appropriately,” continued Mattern. “Instead of facing treatment that is unwanted, those patients who choose to pursue hospice will receive care that focuses on their comfort, as well as their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.”
Throughout the month of February, Compassus – MS Gulf Coast will be joining organizations across the nation to encourage consumers to take an active role in their health care decisions.
For more information about Wise Health Care Consumer Month, visit healthylife.com/wise.
For information about Compassus – MS Gulf Coast, please call (228) 467-2796.