Physicians have historically been uncomfortable initiating conversations about end-of-life care with their patients. Such communication requires tact, sensitivity and, of course, time. In 2016, however, physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants were given the authority to bill Medicare to conduct these challenging discussions, thus allowing providers to carve out discreet time to talk about end-of-life care choices with patients. The data is now in regarding these newly compensated conversations, and it’s quite remarkable: Medicare compensated providers for over 220,000 discussions in just the first six months of 2016. We still have a long way to go to ensure that these conversations become the norm, and some in Congress are threatening to take away this compensation as they fear the phantom “death panels” that were previously used to scare patients. But most of us realize that we need our doctors to talk the talk, so that patients know their end-of-life care options. Find out more about this trend Here.