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Are medical providers required to let their patients know about palliative care?

In 2011, New York passed the Palliative Care Access Act (PCAA). The PCAA mandates that hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, and enhanced or special needs assisted living residences, offer information to patients/residents with advanced, life-limiting conditions or illnesses who may benefit from palliative care. This law does not solely pertain to patients who are approaching the end of life. 

According to the NYS Department of Health, “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.”

This law requires that providers at aforementioned places provide qualifying patients services with access to information and counseling pertaining to palliative care, pain management that would be appropriate for them, and to facilitate access to this care. In other words, eligible patients have the right to information and counseling about palliative care and to have this care facilitated.

For more information about the Palliative Care Access Act, please visit

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