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HOUSE DOCKET, NO.                 FILED ON: 3/18/2014

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3977



The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Fourteen



An Act to improve quality of life by expanding access to palliative care.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding at the end thereof the following sections:-

              Section 230. There shall be established a “State Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council” within the department.

              The Council shall be established by the Commissioner and shall consist of 13 members, and shall include interdisciplinary palliative care medical, nursing, social work, pharmacy, and spiritual professional expertise; patient and family caregiver advocate representation; and any relevant appointees from the Department or state committees or councils that the Commissioner determines appropriate. Membership shall specifically include health professionals having palliative care work experience and/or expertise in palliative care delivery models in a variety of inpatient, outpatient, and community settings (e.g., acute-care, long term care, and hospice) and with a variety of populations, including pediatric, youth and adults.  At least two council members shall be board-certified hospice and palliative medicine physicians and/or nurses.  Council members shall serve for a period of three years at the pleasure of the Department and their respective appointing authorities. The members shall elect a chair and vice chair whose duties shall be established by the Advisory Council. The Department shall fix a time and place for regular meetings of the Advisory Council, which shall meet at least twice yearly.

              Council members shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be allowed actual and necessary expenses in the performance of their duties.

              The Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council shall consult with and advise the Department on matters related to the establishment, maintenance, operation, and outcomes evaluation of palliative care initiatives in the state.

              Section 231.  There is hereby established a statewide “Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program” within the Department the purpose of which shall be to maximize the effectiveness of palliative care initiatives in the state by ensuring that comprehensive and accurate information and education about palliative care is available to the public, health care providers, and health care facilities.

              The Department shall publish on its Web site information and resources, including links to external resources, about palliative care for the public, health care providers, and health care facilities.  This shall include, but not be limited to, continuing educational opportunities for health care providers; information about palliative care delivery in the home, primary, secondary, and tertiary environments; best practices for palliative care delivery; and consumer educational materials and referral information for palliative care, including hospice.

              The Department may develop and implement any other initiatives regarding palliative care services and education that the Department determines would further the purposes of this section.

              In implementing this section, the Department shall consult with the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council established in section 230of Chapter 111 of the General Laws.

              SECTION 2. Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended in section 52 by adding at the end thereof the following:-

              "Appropriate" means consistent with applicable legal, health and professional standards; the patient's clinical and other circumstances; and the patient's reasonably known wishes and beliefs.

              “Medical care” means services provided, requested, or supervised by a physician or advanced practice nurse.

              “Palliative care” means patient- and familycentered medical care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering caused by serious illness. Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and facilitating patient autonomy, access to information, and choice.  Palliative care includes, but is not limited to, discussions of the patient’s goals for treatment; discussion of treatment options appropriate to the patient, including, where appropriate, hospice care; and comprehensive pain and symptom management.

              “Serious Illness” means any medical illness or physical injury or condition that substantially impacts quality of life for more than a short period of time. Serious illness includes, but is not limited to, cancer; heart, renal or liver failure; lung disease; and Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

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