Jindal changes rule for terminally ill patients

Terminally ill patients in Louisiana will now have the final say as to where they want to live their final days.

In the recent past, before the emergency rule was handed down by Governor Jindal's administration, patients were not discharged from hospitals unless Medicaid funded hospice care and personal care. The issue arose when Medicare and Medicaid decided patients receiving hospice care and personal care were getting duplicate services. But change has come thanks to The Advocacy Center lobbying the state.

Louis Hebert, CEO Hospice of Acadiana says, “They did make an emergency rule so Medicaid patients can now have a personal care attendant and Hospice at the same time and hopefully be reimbursed for both.”

In the long run, the emergency rule will actually save the state about $600,000.

“Because the patient will be taken care of at home and the cost of taking care of that patient at home, as opposed to a nursing home is significantly less” says Hebert.

Hebert believes there is no controversy because the services provided by hospice differ from personal care. Personal cares and go into a house for anybody, you might have a paraplegic or anything like that. So they're not regulated just to hospice, but we are regulated strictly to the terminally ill patient said Hebert. Hospice also provides more than just assistance with activities of daily living. Hospice is there to make the patient comfortable, primarily if the patient is having pain, Hebert told News Ten.

To Hebert, it's seems the rule is the right thing to do and ultimately leave the decision up to the patient. “It should be the patients decision, allowing the patient to have a personal care taker and hospice is a wonderful thing.

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