The two major public insurance programs—Medicare and Medicaid—finance the vast majority of end-of-life care. Both programs offer a hospice benefit, which has several shortcomings, including requiring physicians to make a prognosis of a six month life expectancy and insisting that patients give up curative treatment—two steps which are difficult for doctors and patients to make—and payment levels that may be too low. In addition, quality of care initiatives for nursing homes and hospice sometimes conflict. (Wiener and Tilly, 2003)
Evaluate the factors influencing the approach of the National Institutes of Health to creating policy recommendations for improving end-of-life care.