Joint Press

Noted Author Atul Gawande to Testify at Aging Committee Hearing TODAY About Care Models for Serious Illnesses Titled: “The Right Care at the Right Time: Ensuring Person-Centered Care for Individuals with Serious Illness.”

Hearing scheduled for TODAY, Thursday, June 23, 11:00 AM, Dirksen Room 562

            Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Committee, will hold a hearing TODAY, Thursday, June 23, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. in SD-562 titled, “The Right Care at the Right Time: Ensuring Person-Centered Care for Individuals with Serious Illness.”  The hearing will provide an overview of issues related to serious illness and provide insight into models of care that support patients and caregivers and empower patients to make treatment decisions that align with their preferences and goals. 

            Dr. Atul Gawande, surgeon and author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Being Mortal,” is scheduled to testify at Sen. Collins’ invitation.

           Approximately 90 million Americans, more than one in four, now live with a serious illness.  These numbers are increasing as the population ages.  The vast majority of people with serious illnesses are in older age groups and may struggle with multiple and potentially interacting conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.  These individuals are also at greater risk for unnecessary hospitalizations and adverse drug reactions. 

            Despite changing demographics, less than one-third of physicians have reported that their practice or health care system has a formal program in place to assess patients’ goals or preferences.  The hearing will address the importance of advance care planning to the patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.

            Witnesses for the hearing include:

  • Atul Gawande, MD, MPH. Executive Director, Ariadne Labs; Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Samuel O. Thier Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School; and staff writer for The New Yorker, Boston, MA.
  • Kate Lally, MD.  Director of Palliative Care, Care New England Health System, Providence, RI..
  • Amy Berman, RN.  Senior Program Officer, Hartford Foundation, New York, NY.