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THE NYS PALLIATIVE CARE INFORMATION ACT (PCIA) IS NOW LAW
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New York State's Palliative Care Information Act requires physicians and nurse practitioners to offer terminally-ill patients information and counseling concerning palliative care and end-of-life options.
As defined by the law, palliative care is "health care treatment, including interdisciplinary end-of-life care, and consultation with patients and family members, to prevent or relieve pain and suffering and to enhance the patient's quality of life, including hospice care." The aim of palliative care is to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for patients with advanced illness and is offered simultaneously with all other appropriate medical treatment to manage the underlying illness from the time of diagnosis. It also helps patients' families with their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
The new law encourages discussions between patient and physician about the goals for care and also the need for a Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form, as well as ensures optimal relief of pain and other symptoms and a timely referral to hospice.
The New York State Department of Health sent out Dear Administrator Letters and Dear Physician and Nurse Practitioners letters along with a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the new law.
A summary of the new law, the FAQs and resources are posted at: http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/patients/patient_rights/palliative_care/.
Further information on Palliative Care and the Palliative Care Information Act: http://www.compassionandsupport.org/index.php/for_professionals/palliative_care.
Dr. Milch Received Cunniff Dixon Physician Award
The 2010 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards in the established physician category honor Robert A. Milch, MD, FACS, a physician at The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, near Buffalo. Dr. Milch, a surgeon, has been a leader in hospice and palliative care for more than 30 years, almost since its inception in the United States. He was recognized for his longstanding commitment to and excellence in clinical care for patients with advanced illness and for his regional and national leadership in palliative care and surgery.
Dr. Milch's work in hospice care began in 1977, when he came to Hospice Buffalo as the medical director on a voluntary basis, even while working in a large surgical practice. He helped to shape the organization, as well as develop the field of hospice care overall. Dr. Milch was a founding member of the National Association of Hospice Physicians and served as president from 1981 to 1982. He was director of the Palliative Care Service at Buffalo General Hospital from 1980 to 1994. In 1993 he left his surgical practice to become the full-time medical director of Hospice Buffalo, which is now part of The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care.
After retiring as medical director of Hospice Buffalo in 2007, Dr. Milch stayed on as a physician, working with nurses, social workers, clergy and others in the care of patients.