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From the June 1997 ACP Observer, copyright 1997 by the American College of Physicians.

Presidential advisory commission meets to create patient rights bill

A presidential advisory commission that includes two ACP leaders met for the first time in May to create a patient bill of rights.

The President's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry, which includes ACP Immediate Past President Christine K. Cassel, MACP, and ACP Regent Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey, FACP, was created to develop a patient bill of rights by this fall. The commission's final report, which is due by March 1988, will also focus on continuous quality improvement and the role of regulation organizations.

"I'm hopeful that we'll be able to recommend ways in which federal policy can promote both protection of consumers and improved quality in health care," Dr. Cassel said.

The advisory commission, which is headed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, will meet monthly.

Don't forget to use new palliative care code

Code V66.7 gives you a way to indicate to Medicare and other payers that you are seeing patients purely to provide palliative care. The new code is a supplemental or secondary code—it is designed to be used with a primary diagnosis code—and will not affect payment. For instance, you could list the primary ICD-9 code for treating a patient with liver cancer and use the code V66.7 to indicate that you have provided palliative care.

The new code is part of a HCFA study to determine whether a DRG is needed to pay hospitals for providing palliative care. HCFA plans to monitor use of the code over the next year or so.

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