(THH) The Obama administration is reporting a breakthrough today in budget negotiations with House Republicans. In an effort to reign in Medicare and Medicaid spending, John Boehner (R-OH) and President Obama have agreed, in principle, to implement new slow code policies for all Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
"The time has come to change the way we offer health care. The time has come to change the way we deliver health care. The time has come to change the way we pay for health care", said President Obama during a luncheon gathering with representatives of the AARP.
As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, Congress authorized the little known Slow Code Commission to investigate slow codes and their effect on patient outcomes, patient satisfaction scores and patient expenses. What they found was impressive. One hundred percent of slow code patients experienced the desired and expected outcome. Patient satisfaction scores were 100% as well and the additional cost to patients and families were negligible. The Slow Code Commission discovered that patients who experienced a slow code had a higher patient satisfaction score than any other initiative ever implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
For patients, the policy change is simple. They don't have to do anything. By default, doctors and nurses will now walk slowly to the hospital room of any patient experiencing cardiac or pulmonary failure requiring resuscitation (CPR) instead of racing down the hall in a frantic display of chaos. As part of the standard slow code protocol, all health care providers will now dial down the urgency of the situation, make a conscious effort to speak softly and stall the administration of chest compressions and advanced cardiac life support medications. These efforts have been proven time and time again to give the patients the greatest amount of comfort and satisfaction. As in normal code situations, jokes will still be encouraged.
However, despite all the benefits discovered by the Slow Code Commission's findings, one AARP member wasn't sold on the idea. Kansas native Betty Lou says, "We may be old, but we aren't dumb. If I want to die a miserable death filled with pain and suffering, you have to give it to me. All of it. None of this fancy schmancy slow code talk." Slow codes will now be mandated for all hospitals starting in 2013. Hospitals will be tracked and CMS payments to hospitals will be reduced by 1% (to increase in future years) if the survival rate of slow code patients exceeds the national accepted slow code survival rate. This defined benchmark survival rate has not yet been defined. This ObamaCare someecard helps to explain.