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Advance care planning part of ‘major culture shift’; annual Honoring Choices Wisconsin conference spotlights successes

Release Date: October 22, 2015
Contact: Kendi Parvin - 608.442.3748 kendi.parvin@wismed.org

MADISON (Oct. 22, 2015) — Representing 29 health care organizations across the state, Honoring Choices Wisconsin (HCW) stakeholders are gathering in Madison today for the third annual Sharing the Experience Conference.

“In the last year, the landscape of advance care planning has seen more change than in the previous five years combined,” said Donn Dexter, MD, the Society’s chief medical officer. “There is a major culture shift toward advance care planning, as physicians, policymakers, patients and the public realize its importance. These conversations are now being recognized as the needed standard of care.”

Through HCW, the Society serves as a convener, coordinator and catalyst to build clinical systems based on the Respecting Choices® First Steps® model, combined with outreach in communities across the state. Since Honoring Choices Wisconsin launched in September 2012, more than 6,000 patients have engaged in conversations about their future medical decisions, including end-of-life preferences, with facilitators trained through HCW. These conversations help patients understand their health care treatment options, appoint a health care agent, clarify goals, weigh options about the kind of care and treatment they would want or not want and communicate those wishes to family, friends, clergy, physicians and others.

“I’ve had the experience of having my 18-year-old daughter suffer a life-threatening neurological event. Realizing that I wasn’t able to make decisions for her because she didn’t have an advance directive was very scary,” said George “Chip” Morris, MD, a Milwaukee neurologist who is sharing his family’s story at the conference. “It’s so important to have these conversations and to document them, and that’s what Honoring Choices is helping us all do.”

Other conference highlights include:

  • An announcement by WPS Health Insurance and Arise Health Plan that it will reimburse advance care planning facilitations. Effective Sept. 1 for eligible members, WPS Health
    Insurance and Arise Health Plan will pay for an initial 30-minute counseling session and up to two additional 30-minute sessions within one calendar year.
  • The introduction of four new HCW participating organizations: Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville, Southwest Health in Platteville, Richland Medical Center/Richland Center Hospital in Richland Center and Care Wisconsin based in Madison all have signed on to build systems and workflows to offer advance care planning conversations to their patients. My Choice Family Care in Milwaukee, which joined HCW in March, has already begun its trial implementation.
  • A new learning platform to engage physicians in advance care planning and integrate conversations into their practice.
  • A 3-minute community engagement video, produced in collaboration with Wisconsin Public Television and made possible by a grant through the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health. The video is available in English and Spanish at www.honoringchoiceswi.org.
  • Recognition of three advance care planning champions: the Rev. Chuck Orme-Rogers of Meriter-UnityPoint Health in Madison; Toni Kesler, MSN, RN, of Vitas Healthcare in Milwaukee; and James Milford, MD, of Watertown Regional Medical Center in Watertown.
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      With more than 12,000 members dedicated to the best interests of their patients, the Wisconsin Medical Society is the largest association of medical doctors in the state and has been a trusted source for health policy leadership since 1841. For more information about Honoring Choices Wisconsin, visit www.honoringchoiceswi.org.

      Note: This event is being held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison until 4:15 p.m. today.

      The name “Honoring Choices Wisconsin” is used under license from the East Metro Medical Society Foundation. RESPECTING CHOICES® is a registered mark used under license from Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation, Inc.