Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer Receives Award for Nearly 30 Years of End-of-Life Care Achievements

End-of-Life Care Advocacy Group Thanks Retiring Congressional Healthcare Champion
July 10, 2024

Compassion & Choices Wednesday presented retiring U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) with an award for his “exceptional and vital contributions to the end-of-life care movement” during his nearly 30 years in Congress since 1996.

“It is an honor to receive this award from a group which for decades has brought the Oregon model of compassionate end-of-life care to the national stage,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “No issue has given me greater satisfaction than our work to improve end-of-life care options for all Americans. This award is a symbol of our progress.”

Compassion & Choices Pres./CEO Kim Callinan & Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Compassion & Choices Pres./CEO Kim Callinan & Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer

“Congressman Blumenauer has been at the forefront of ensuring that people from all walks of life receive improved access to high-quality patient-directed end-of-life care, ” said Compassion & Choices President/CEO Kim Callinan. “On behalf of the 570,000 volunteers, supporters, donors, and staff of Compassionate & Choices, we express our sincerest gratitude for his leadership and work to improve end-of-life care in  the United States.”

Below is a partial list of Congressman Blumenauer’s support for high-quality, accessible end-of-life Care legislation.

During the Affordable Care Act (ACA) debate, his provision to provide Medicare reimbursement for doctors who discuss end-of-life care treatment preferences with their patients was included in the House version of the bill. During the ACA’s implementation, he succeeded in including these important conversations as a covered Medicare benefit.

Among the bills he sponsored were the bipartisan Improving Access to Advance Care Planning Act (2022), which authorized expanded Medicare coverage of advance care planning services.   Congressman Blumenauer also authored bipartisan legislation in 2021 that would allow Medicare-only beneficiaries enrolled in Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to choose prescription drug plans that better serve their needs. (PACE is a program under Medicare and Medicaid that provides in-home and community services for certain individuals as an alternative to nursing home care.)

Congressman Blumenauer’s earlier legislative efforts laid out an evidence-based, effective structure for end-of-life planning and care benefits and related training for clinicians. They include:

  • The bipartisan Patient Choice and Quality Care Act (2017), would have tested a new Medicare model for advanced illness and care management to enable Medicare beneficiaries with serious, chronic progressive, or advanced illnesses, to plan their healthcare goals.
  • The bipartisan Personalize Your Care Act 2.0 (2016) would have established several new programs and requirements related to end-of-life care and advance care planning. The bill included a demonstration program to test the use of advanced illness management and early use of palliative care under Medicare, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grants to increase public awareness of advance care planning, and HHS grants for training and education programs related to advance care planning, hospice care, and palliative care.
  • The Personalize Your Care Act of 2013 called for state expansion of POLST (Physician Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment) and electronic medical record accessibility and portability.

Rep. Blumenauer’s earliest legislation (2009) related to end-of-life care would have improved consumer information regarding advance care planning, developed continuing education for physicians and nurses on advanced care planning and end-of-life care, established guidelines for a minimum amount of end-of-life training for physicians, and created a National Center on Palliative and End-of-Life Care within the National Institutes of Health.

“Compassion & Choices extends our best wishes to Congressman Earl Blumenauer on his retirement,” Callinan concluded. “We look forward to continuing to work with him, and his successor, to expand and improve patient-driven end-of-life care.”

Compassion & Choices improves and expands healthcare options and empowers everyone to chart their end-of-life journey.

Contacts:

Sean Crowley, Sr. Nat. Media Relations Dir, Compassion & Choices, 202-495-8520, [email protected]

Marina Gephart, 360-601-2396, Oregon Media Relations Dir., Compassion & Choices, [email protected]

Hunter Spence, (202) 604-7229, Communications Dir., U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), [email protected]

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