Palliative Care Access Act (PCAA)

Palliative Care Access Act (PCAA) effective September, 2011:

According to the NYS Department of Health, “Like the PCIA, the PCAA is intended to ensure that patients are fully informed of the options available to them when they are faced with a serious illness or condition, so that they are empowered to make choices consistent with their goals of care, and wishes and beliefs, and to optimize their quality of life. The law is not intended…to discourage conversations about palliative care with patients who have distressing symptoms and serious conditions, but do not technically fall within the law’s requirements. Palliative care and disease-modifying therapies are not mutually exclusive. Patients may opt to pursue palliative care while also pursuing aggressive treatment. Palliative care may be provided together with life-prolonging or curative care or as the main focus of care.”

The PCAA

  • Expands on the PCIA, new Public Health Law, Section 2997-d
  • Applies to hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies and enhanced and special needs assisted living residences.
  • Applies to patients with “advanced, life limiting conditions and illnesses”.
  • Requires providers to establish policies and procedures to:
    • Identify patients who might benefit from palliative care, (defined as in the PCIA) and pain management services,
    • Provide access to information and counseling concerning palliative care and pain management appropriate to the patient, and
    • Facilitate access to appropriate palliative care and pain management consultations and services.

As with the PCIA, if you are a patient or a health care professional working with a patient to whom the PCAA applies, and access to information and counseling concerning palliative care and pain management has not been provided and/or access to appropriate palliative care and pain management consultation and services has not been facilitated by the health care facility, then you may want to discuss this with an appropriate health care professional in the Facility.