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July 13, 2015

C-TAC’s Faith Leader’s Letter of Support for Proposed CPT Codes for Advance Care Planning

As Co-Chairs and members of the Interfaith and Diversity Workgroup of the C-TAC, we strongly commend the Administration and CMS for including and funding codes that would help physicians and other qualified health care professionals conduct voluntary conversations with ill people and their families regarding their care goals and treatment preferences.

The Administration’s support is validation that time invested listening to what an ill person wants should be an important part of the standard of care. It is a critical first step in ensuring that human dignity is respected and honored throughout the care journey of the ill person, their family and community.

We witness the importance of these discussions in our daily lives as clergy, clinicians and other professionals in faith communities. As one of our Workgroup members recently said, “fewer people may be attending houses of worship, but whenever they have a problem or a crisis, they call us.” Recent research[i] shows that the percentage of people over 65 has tripled in the last century to about 14% of our population in 2012 and is expected to reach about 20 percent by 2060. However, roughly a quarter of the U. S. adults (27%) say they have given either no thought or not very much thought to their own wishes when it comes to end-of-life medical treatment.[ii]

Houses of worship and religious institutions, as trusted conveners and sources of spiritual (and increasingly care) support, have a significant role in working with clinicians, ill persons and their families to make informed care decisions, reflecting their goals, values, and spiritual beliefs.

We look forward to our continued work with the Administration, our policy makers, clinicians, consumer advocates and others through C-TAC to ensure that we:

  • Respond with compassion, love and support to those who with advanced illnesses;
  • Minister to families and loved ones of those who are in the process of transitioning from this life to the next; and
  • Support clinicians and family caregivers who sacrifice their lives daily to provide counseling and care to those who are living with advanced illness so that they have the dignity and respect they need and deserve.

Sincerely, Co-Chairs of the C-TAC Interfaith and Diversity Workgroup:

Rev. Dr. Tyrone Pitts, Ecumenical Officer & General Secretary Emeritus, Progressive National Baptist Convention

Rabbi Richard Address, Founder, JewishSacredAging.com

Rick de Filippi, Chair, Equity of Care Committee, American Hospital Association

With members of the Interfaith and Diversity Workgroup:

  • Rabbi Richard Address, Founder, JewishSacredAging.com, Mantua, NJ (Co-chair)
  • John Alexander Jr., Pastor, First Baptist Church, Washington, DC.
  • Dr. Don Anderson, Executive Minister, Rhode Island State Council of Churches, Providence, RI
  • Gloria Anderson, Founder and President, Heart Tones, Kanas City, KS
  • Rabbi Tsurah August, Hospice Chaplain, Jewish Hospice Network; JFCS of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
  • Margaret Betts, Director of Health Ministry, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
  • Msgr. Edward Branch, Director/ Catholic Chaplain, Atlanta University Center, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
  • Lazetta Rainey Braxton, MBA, CFP, Founder/CEO, Financial Fountains, Baltimore, MD
  • Kenyon C. Burke, Consultant, Kenyon Burke Consulting; Former Associate General Secretary, National Council of Churches; & Former Associate Director of Programs, NAACP, Maplewood, NJ
  • Minister Dr. Michael Chapman, Pastor, John Baptist Church, Buffalo, NY
  • Rita Chow, EdD, RN, former Director, National Interfaith Coalition on Aging, Washington, DC
  • Edith Clifton, Media and Public Relations, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
  • Rebecca Cohen , RN, MS, EdD, MPA. HNB-BC, Co-chair of Practice Committee, American Holistic Nurses Association, Dekalb, IL
  • Kendrick E Curry, PhD, MDiv, Pastor, The Pennsylvania Ave Baptist Church, Washington, DC
  • Teresa Cutts, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor, Wake Forest School if Medicine, Div. of Public Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Paris D. Davis, PhD, MBA, Executive Director, Total Resources Development Corp; Pastors4PCOR, Chicago, IL
  • Marion DePuit, Health Ministry Director, Glad Tidings Church of God in Christ, Hayward, CA
  • Azad Ejaz, MD, Executive Director, Muslim Community Clinic, Washington, DC
  • Richard de Filippi, Chair, Equity of Care Committee, American Hospital Association, Boston, MA (Co-Chair)
  • Geraldine Feaster Bethea, Health Coordinator, Israel Baptist Church, Washington, DC
  • Clyde Gaines, Pastor, Greater Trinity Baptist Church, San Diego, CA
  • Rafael Goldstein, Chief Chaplain, Mount Sinai Health System, New York, NY
  • Bishop Simon Gordon, Senior Pastor, Triedstone Full Gospel Baptist Church, Chicago, IL
  • Regina Greer-Smith, MPH, FACHE, President and Healthcare Project Professional, HealthCare Research Associate, LLC, Chicago, IL
  • Eric J. Hall, President & CEO, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, New York, NY
  • Sheik Hassan, MD, FCCP, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC
  • Cynthia Carter Hill, Executive Director, Alameda County Care Alliance (ACCA); Pastor, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, CA
  • Paul Jellinek, PhD, Principal, Isaacs-Jellinek; former Vice President, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ
  • Dr. Major Jemison, Senior Pastor, St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, OK (C-TAC board member)
  • A. Wayne Johnson, Pastor, Morningstar Missionary Baptist Church, Portland, OR
  • Pastor Horacio Jones, Founding Pastor, Family Bible Fellowship, Newark, CA
  • Kay Kallander, RN, MBA, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning, American Baptist Homes of the West, Pleasanton, CA
  • Rabbi Lowell Kronick, Associate Director, Chaplaincy Education, National Chaplain Training Center & Chaplain, US Department of VA, Washington, DC
  • Bishop J. W. Macklin, Senior Pastor, Glad Tidings Church of God in Christ, Hayward, CA
  • Lisa Marr, MD, Section Chief, Palliative Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
  • A. Roy Medley, General Secretary, American Baptist Church USA, National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, Washington, DC
  • Dr. John Mendez, Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Steve Nash, CEO, Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home, Washington, DC
  • Mona Negm, Former Commissioner on Aging; Director, Senior Program, Montgomery County at Muslim Community Center, Silver Spring, MD
  • Angela Overton, Director, O.P.E. Ministry and Associate Minister at Green Castle Baptist Church, Louisville, KY
  • Richard Payne, MD, Professor of Medicine and Divinity, Duke Institute for Care at the End of Life, Durham, NC
  • Dr. Gregory Payton, Pastor, Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Oakland, CA
  • Dr. Tyrone Pitts, Ecumenical Officer & General Secretary Emeritus, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Alexandra, VA (Co-chair)
  • Tina Picchi, MA, BCC, Executive Director, Supportive Care Coalition, Hillsboro, OR
  • Alton B. Pollard III, Dean, Howard University, School of Divinity, Washington, DC
  • Tom Pruski, RN, MAPS, Director, Heal The Sick Program, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC
  • Christina Puchalski, MD, Executive Director, George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, Washington, DC
  • Pastor Rev. Brondon Reems, Pastor, Center of Hope Community Church, Oakland, CA
  • Gus Reyes, Director, Baptist General Convention of Texas, Dallas, TX
  • Shirley Roberson, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
  • Sullivan Robinson, Executive Director, First Baptist Church, Washington, DC.
  • Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center, Washington, DC
  • Sarah Sayeed, Director of Community Partnerships, Interfaith Center of New York, New York, NY
  • Myles Sheehan, MD, Provincial Superior, The Society of Jesus in the New England Province, Providence, RI
  • Jon Shematek, MD, Chief Medical Officer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield & Deacon, Cathedral of the Incarnation, Baltimore, MD
  • Diane C. Smalley, Patient and Community Engagement Council, Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital, Trinity Health, Detroit, MI
  • Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr., Senior Pastor, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, CA
  • Michael Scott, Director, District of Columbia Catholic Conference, Washington, DC
  • Julie Trocchio, Director, Community Benefit & Continuing Care, The Catholic Health Association of the United States, Washington, DC
  • Frank Tucker, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Washington, DC
  • Dr. Walter Turner III, Senior Pastor, New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago, IL
  • Cheryl Wade, Director of Philanthropy, Kindal Corporation, Philadelphia, PA
  • Nancy Zionts, Chief Program Officer, Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA

C-TAC is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition comprised of over 120 national organizations including patient and consumer advocacy groups, health care professionals and providers, private sector stakeholders, faith-based organizations, and health care payers that share a common vision of improving advanced illness care for all Americans. The Coalition works to ensure that all those with advanced illness, especially the sickest and most vulnerable, receive comprehensive, high-quality, person- and family-centered care that is consistent with their goals and values and honors their dignity.

[i] Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments, Pew Research Center Religion & Public Life Project, Nov. 21, 2013.

[ii] Op. Cit., Pew Research Center Report, p. 6.

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