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Taking Stock of Advance Directives with Bob Roth on Money Radio

On October 12, Sara Asher of the End of Life Care Partnership and I had the pleasure of appearing on Bob Roth’s Health Futures podcast, which was broadcast on Money Radio. We sat down for a nice discussion about the importance of Advance Directives—for everyone. The full transcript of our talk is below, and video of the segment can also be viewed here on YouTube.

Segment 1

Announcer: The views expressed on the following program do not necessarily reflect the views of Money Radio staff, management, or advertisers, and do not represent an offer to buy or sell any securities. Some interviews heard on this program may be sponsored by the participants. It’s time for Health Futures with Cypress HomeCare Solutions, Bob Roth. This is Arizona’s only show dedicated to providing you with expert advice on how to live a longer, healthier, and happier life. To learn more. Call 602-264-8009. That’s 602-264-8009. Now here’s your host, Bob Roth.

Bob Roth: Good afternoon. You’re listening to Health Futures-Taking Stock in You, I’m your host Bob Roth, and it must be Friday. And indeed it is. It is Friday, October 1st. Holy smokes. How did it become October? And if you live here in Arizona, you are starting to finally see the weather change, and it is absolutely delightful outside today. We’ve got about 80 degrees, and our nights are starting to get cool. So, we’re slipping into the fall all season. It’s good to be living here in Arizona, for sure. If this is the first time you have tuned in to Health FuturesHealth Futures is about how our older adult population can live a healthier, happier life.

Bob Roth: How do we do that? We do that by bringing extraordinary guests to the show. And today is no different.I am pleased to have these two guests here in the studio. I have Carla Sutter. She is the Director of the Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry at Health Current. And I’ve got Sarah Asher. She’s the Associate Vice President, End of Life Care Partnership anchored at United Way of Tucson in Southern Arizona. Welcome to the show, both Carla and Sarah

Carla Sutter: Thank you.

Sarah Asher: Thank you.

Bob Roth: This is such an important topic. And we talk about this often about end of life planning and the keyword is planning because we need to plan and the old adage about if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. And then, for us, we’re talking about end of life. And it’s so important for people to memorialize their wishes. And I want to jump into this, but before I jump into it, I would love our listeners to learn a little bit about my guests here today, and also why you got into this too, because I know I have two healthcare veterans. Sarah, please share with our listeners about your background, and then we’ll hear from Carla.

Sarah Asher: Sure. Thank you, Bob. Well, I’ve worked in healthcare, literally my whole adult life, mostly in hospitals. So, for about 40 years, I’ve worked in healthcare. And my career shifted in the last six years into one focused on patient experience, and person, and family centered care. And I moved from that to the community side of healthcare, into this end of life care partnership work, which has truly been the most satisfying work of my entire life. I come to this with both professional, and personal passion. I lost my mom to cancer when I was 15 years old, and she was 51 years old. She was a social worker. And way ahead of her time, in terms of expressing her desire to die at home, looking at our giant oak tree in the backyard.

Sarah Asher: And several years later lost a brother to suicide. However, he lived on life support for about a week after he attempted to take his life. And our family had to make decisions in that time that were very difficult. And then fast forward, many years, I cared for my father who was a retired physician and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I moved him from my native home of New Orleans out to Arizona, where I cared for him for about six years from diagnosis to death.

Bob Roth: That had to be hard work.

Sarah Asher: Very, very hard work. So, I’m extremely passionate…

Bob Roth: Yeah, you are.

Sarah Asher: …about this and I’m grateful to be here today. So thank you.

Bob Roth: And just real quickly, how long have you been doing this?

Sarah Asher: I have been in this role for about almost four years.

Bob Roth: Four years. Fantastic. Carla, I know a little bit about you, but for our listeners, I know you’re from New York.

Carla Sutter: I am from New York. You’ll hear that.

Bob Roth: Yes, but share with our listeners about a little bit about your background and how you got into this

Carla Sutter: It’s interesting being in this work. And hearing Sarah talk, you’ll hear throughout this that the personal and professional line is so blurred and blended when it comes to end-of-life care and these kinds of conversations. Because this is one thing in all of our lives that we are going to experience no matter what our background is, but my background is as a clinical social worker, and I have worked in social work from literally working with clients from birth to death, started in early maternal health, and with a specialty then in end-of-life care conversations with many years in hospice. And so this really gave me the opportunity to have these kind of conversations with clients, and families who had already made some very difficult determinations, and decisions were facing difficult paths in front of them. And it really just, again, identified for me the importance of not only having the conversation, but having it then documented in a way that we can refer back to almost as a map.

Carla Sutter: And I think that one of the reasons that this is an area that is so key for me is that my family was very open when I was young about death and dying. And so we had a lot of conversations and my parents really treated it us, even though we were children in ways that they were open about what was happening, they did not shield us. They found ways to express things to us in a way that wasn’t scary, or as scary as it could be, but it was something that there was always an openness to have a conversation and it was not shield from us. And so that has kind of stayed with me. And I really have found myself as Sarah has on both sides of the bed. Both as the less emotional professional, but then as a daughter, as a sister, to those that are experiencing this. And the work that needed it to be done and the conversations needed to be had.

Bob Roth: Well, first of all, I think that your family, your parents were a little ahead of the time because they didn’t shield you. And so many of our generation did not have these conversations.

Carla Sutter: Absolutely.

Bob Roth: They didn’t talk about death and dying, and it’s a conversation that we need to have. And really, when you sit down and talk about the work you do, we’re really talking about advanced directives and basically really talking about when you can’t make decisions for yourself who is going to make those decisions for you, and we need to make those decisions known. And as I understand, and please correct me if I’m wrong, it’s Health Current is the group that you guys are both a part of and your mission is to get the word out there that these families, people need to make sure they memorialize their wishes. I just want to make sure I got that correct.

Carla Sutter: Absolutely. So, while the Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry will be with Health Current, and that was based off of Arizona statute, as Sarah, I think, will share throughout the time we have together, the end-of-life care partnership and the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is a partner in the work that we’re doing. And together, I think what we’ll see is this is a community wide, a statewide initiative, and something that has to happen at all levels of provision of care.

Bob Roth: Absolutely. Absolutely. I just had a couple weeks ago, a fiduciary in here recently, and this person was talking about actually it was a woman and a man. They own the fiduciary. And she was talking about, you can either be appointed by us or you could be nominated and was talking about this very thing, because she said, “You don’t want us to be appointed because that means we’re appointed by the courts and we’re going to act on your best interest, and we don’t know exactly what you want”, but you could nominate us and you could have already put all those wishes down. And that’s the crux of what we’re trying to convey to the communities that we live in is please take the time to memorialize your wishes. So I want to ask my first question to you is what is the Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry, and why should we all be excited about it?

Carla Sutter: So, I’m going to answer that, but I have to start with some questions, I think, to be able to make sense of it. So I want us to imagine that we are in a hospital and we cannot speak for ourselves. Who will speak for us, and do they know our wishes? Just similar to what you just said. Imagine that our mom, and our spouse, our adult child has had a medical crisis, they are not expected to recover who will speak to the healthcare team for them? Who will make those decisions. And do they know what decisions need to be made? Now, imagine, again, we have Alzheimer’s, or Dementia, or cancer, brain injury. We’ve been in a tragic car accident. Who will speak for us? We all hope to be able to communicate to the end of our lives, but often that does not happen. And as you said, without a plan, without it being documented, your healthcare team, your family, your loved ones won’t know your wishes and healthcare preferences. And even if these conversations have occurred, but they were not documented, your family will question whether they were remembering correctly, and whether they were making the right decisions, adding an additional layer of burden. Now, in a crisis, can you even locate those documents that you will have to give to your healthcare providers? First responders have the information when and where they need to follow their treatment preferences.

Bob Roth: I hear the music so we’re down one segment. I will tell you, I want to pick up on that. You’re listening to Health Futures -Taking Stock in You. I’m your host, Bob Roth. I’ve got Carla Sutter here in the studio. I got Sarah Asher here in the studio. We’re talking about advance directives and really planning for the future and making your wishes known. Stick around. We got three more segments. We’ll be right back.

Segment 2

Announcer: Now back to Health Futures -Taking Stock in You. If you have questions about your own or your loved ones future healthcare, call 602-264-8009. Now here’s your host, Cypress HomeCare Solutions, Bob Roth.
 
Bob Roth: Welcome back. You’re listening to Health Futures -Taking Stock in You. I’m your host, Bob Roth. If you’re just tuning in, we’re in our second segment here. We’re coming at you live from the Scottsdale Air Park studios of Money Radio. I’m here with Sarah Ascher and Carla Sutter. Current. We’re talking Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry.
 
Bob Roth: We left off talking a little bit about that and we kind of got caught short there, Carla, at the end of the first segment. I’d like you to pick up on where you left off, really talking about the Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry.
 
Carla Sutter: Thank you. I think for those of you who were with us in the last segment, we were really thinking about how we can ensure that these wishes are honored, which is documenting these wishes and having those conversations. But now the most important thing is having access by your health healthcare providers. That’s really why the Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry, known as AZHDR, is so exciting. Because the state legislature passed a bill easing the way for healthcare providers and first responders to have real-time access to advance directives that have been registered with the Arizona Healthcare Directive Registry. These can be registered by a consumer who sets up an account and shares their documents with us, or they can be provided to us by healthcare providers.
 
Carla Sutter: While the Secretary of State has had a registry in Arizona since 2004, the biggest burden to that registry was that you needed to give your healthcare provider a unique username and password to be able to see those documents. At that time of crisis, very few people were able to have that or remember their username and password. We all know that that’s a struggle for us in even the best of times.
 
Bob Roth: Yes.
 
Carla Sutter: This no longer will require that. When a healthcare provider is registered with the Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry, they will be able to search and query the registry for any document of any Arizonan who has put that document into the registry. Legal professionals, financial professionals who are working their clients, helping them complete some of these documents, will be able to submit those documents for consumers, making that process easier. Again, these will then be stored in a safe place. They can be uploaded, they can be saved, they can be changed, which is, I think, as we go through today, we’ll be talking a little bit about that, but again, made available at the time of need so wishes can be honored and treatment preferences can be understood.
 
Bob Roth: I want to take it a step further. First responders—we know that 911 is often called in the senior living communities. These first responders that I’m talking about are mainly paramedics and firefighters, and they’re there to save lives. Do they have access to this?
 
Carla Sutter: Yes. First responders are considered healthcare providers under this statute. They, too, will be able to access this. Those fire departments that we’re working with every day now can be registered. They’ll be trained on how to access these documents. Then we’ll be working side by side with assisted living communities, with nursing homes, and with other group homes so that when they’re doing the work with their clients and residents to get these documents completed, they also can help submit these documents to the registry so that they’re accessible. The value of the registry is in the volume of the documents that are in the registry.
 
Bob Roth: Absolutely. Of course.
 
Carla Sutter: We’re doing two things at the same time, enhancing those two things.
 
Bob Roth: That’s why you guys are here on the show. It’s about an awareness. We have to get the message out there. We have to have people understand this. Oftentimes when 911 is called in the senior living community, it’s after 5:00 pm and all the documents that maybe those residents had are locked up in a safe place and nobody can access them. We’re supposed to for DNR, supposed to have this little gold or yellow piece of paper and it’s supposed to be up on the refrigerator. We know sometimes that doesn’t happen either. Essentially our state is leaning toward using the Arizona Advanced Directives Registry as the central repository for all of this.
 
Carla Sutter: Absolutely. It’s across Arizona. Again, any consumer can use this. There is no cost to upload documents to set up your account. Then there’s no cost to any of the providers who want to be participating and trained on this and being able to query that so that, again, it’s all about access and all about wishes registered or wishes honored.
 
Bob Roth: Perfect. I know that the question’s going to come up. Privacy’s always really important. You made that very clear. You have to register, you have to sign up, you have a username, password, I’m sure. But the only people that can access are professionals, their doctors, their first responders, healthcare professionals.
 
Carla Sutter: Healthcare professionals that are licensed. Even if an attorney or financial planner does submit your documents, the only documents they will ever be able to see in the registry are those they submit, not others in the registry, and so, yes. Health Current is the state’s only health information exchange company. For the last 15 years, all they do is work with private health information and so the security aspect of this information is key.
 
Bob Roth: It’s vital. It sounds like you’ve really covered that, which is fantastic.
 
Bob Roth: I want to switch topics and really as we close this first half is really talking about advanced directives. You and I talked before we got onto the show and many people think this is for old people and people with terminal diagnoses. They think, “I don’t need one. I’m 20-30 years old.” I’ve talked about it on the show before, but I’d love to hear from you, Sarah, or you Carla, in talking about is this truly for older people and people that are terminal?
 
Sarah Asher: Well, Bob, I think the COVID pandemic has been a brutal and constant reminder of how important it is to start these conversations early and to normalize them because with COVID, we’ve learned and been reminded that death can come to us at any time, at any age, can be very sudden and impacts the people we love and leave behind. It’s essential that we start these conversations early, normalize them to reduce the burden at the end of life, not only for the people who are dying, but for our loved ones who are left behind.
 
Bob Roth: So true, so true. The data that we’re getting, one in 500. I shared this last Friday. I was a keynote speaker at a national conference. I said, “Just think about the Cardinal game that was played last Sunday. There were 60,000 people that were in attendance. That meant 120 people died.” It’s a lot of people.
 
Bob Roth: Certainly I’ve talked about it here on the show, 18 or older. All my children have advanced directives because I’m in this space, in this profession, and I’ve had elder law attorneys, estate planning attorneys, and fiduciaries here, and they’ve all talked about it. If someone’s 18 or older and they become hospitalized and incapacitated, doesn’t mean you as a parent have the healthcare directives to be able to make those decisions.
 
Carla Sutter: Absolutely. What’s important to recognize is that advanced directives cover several different documents, so not only being able to document what you want, but who is the person who will speak for you because there are different regulations around who that is. It’s important for people to know that if they don’t document it, the state does have a specific kind of lineage of who will make that decision for you. Understanding that is key to make sure that the person that understands your wants and needs the most is the person who is going to be able to speak for you and make those decisions, including who will be able to visit you in a healthcare setting.
 
Bob Roth: Let’s face it, I mean, just because you’ve done the work, it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be revisited. Life changes. Someone that you may have put in that position may no longer be here, or you may not have that relationship with them so you need to evolve that.
What I want to talk about when we come back in the second half is I want you to share some examples, for sure. I also want to talk about how do we begin these conversations, because it’s not a one time discussion. You can’t just sit down with mom and dad and say, “Hey, over dinner, we need to do this. Let’s do this now.” It’s an evolving thing. I’d love to get some tips from you all and how we do that.

Segment 3

Announcer: Now back to Health Futures -Taking Stock in You. If you have questions about your own or your loved ones future healthcare, call 602-264-8009. Now here’s your host, Bob Roth.
 
Bob Roth: Welcome back. If you’re just tuning in, I’ve got two incredible guests here in the studio. I’ve got Carla Sutter. She is the director of Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry with Health Current, and I’ve got Sarah Ascher. She’s the associate vice president End of Life Care Partnership anchor at United Way of Tucson in Southern Arizona. I made the mistake of saying that Sarah was with Health Current. She is with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. So I want to make sure I give out how they can reach you, Carla. I would think it would be Health Current, but if we want to give out contacts for you, Sarah, we can do that too. So Carla, if someone wants to learn more about Health Current, how do they get in touch with you?
 
Carla Sutter: So there’s a couple of different ways. They can go to healthcurrent.org/azhdr. And there’ll be lots of tools and resources and an information signup, but they can also go to healthcurrent.org/radio. And there they’ll be able to download or newest guide on advanced directives in Arizona. And so either one of those ways will work. When they go to Health Current, they’ll see that we are also, it says contextual because we’re excited that last month we merged with an HIE in Colorado making us the largest HIE in the Western states.
 
Bob Roth: What is HIE for our listeners?
 
Carla Sutter: Health Information Exchange. I do exactly what I say not to do, which is use acronyms.
 
Bob Roth: No, no. And I will tell you, Arizona has come such a long way. I had the privilege of serving on the Governor’s Advisory Council and Aging. And when I tell you that information, HIE here in Arizona, when I first joined, it was less than 30%. And when I left, it was over 70%. It’s probably even higher than that now, in terms of sharing that information, because it’s so important, especially if you show up in a hospital in Northern Arizona and you’re from here, and they need to have information on you.
 
Carla Sutter: Absolutely.
 
Bob Roth: So no, that is excellent. So I want to take an opportunity now and have you share some examples. I left off in the second half by saying, this isn’t a conversation you have over dinner with mom and dad. This isn’t a conversation, and we talked about it for the elderly and terminally ill. How do you have this conversation? And if you can, share some examples.
 
Carla Sutter: So I’ll start. And I’m sure that Sarah has some additional ones. I think the biggest thing sometimes is to take it out of the personal. And I think that’s true with most conversations. And unfortunately, as Sarah shared with COVID, there’s lots of opportunity to take stories that have been happening on the news and things we’ve heard at the water cooler or the virtual water cooler nowadays of what’s happening and bring that back to the family to have a discussion. I just read a story. I just heard something. What does that mean for you? What decision would you make? And I think if we begin by making it not personal, it really helps the conversation. I think also we should never ask somebody to complete something that we ourselves would not complete. So instead of saying mom and dad, here are these advanced directives.
 
Carla Sutter: I think we need to complete them to be able to say, I have some of these advanced directives, I’m going to start working on them. Would you want to do this together as a family? We can sit down and have these conversations. And I think there’s fun ways, which seems strange, but there’s fun ways. There’s conversations over dinner and some other kind of card games that you can just ask questions. We’re used to playing games now with cards. So it allows us to kind of ask questions that maybe we can’t think of ourselves, or again, it takes it out of the personal to be able to begin to have these discussions.
 
Bob Roth: I couldn’t agree with you more. And you talked about COVID, and recently my family lost a friend. And she was in her mid-70s, and she got COVID and was one of the breakthrough cases like my dad was. And unfortunately she got to the point where she needed to be on a ventilator. And she had already made her wishes known that she did not want to be on a ventilator. And therefore she passed. And her wishes got carried out. And yes, lots of people would be on a ventilator and lots of people wouldn’t, but the family knew exactly what to do because that conversation happened, and it was memorialized.
 
Sarah Asher: And Bob, I think this is all adding to what Carla said, the importance of starting these conversations as early as possible can’t be emphasized enough because if we start having them early in life, they become normalized. They become part of our fabric, and they’re not unusual. So we can start by talking about what’s important to us in living. What are our priorities for living until we die? And that can guide the conversation and connect us and really bring us closer together to talk about what’s important to us. And then we can talk about who might speak for us if we can’t speak for ourselves relative to those specific priorities and values.
 
Bob Roth: So I want to ask, you guys have this partnership. You’re with the United Way down in Tucson and Southern Arizona, and you, Carla, are with Health Current. Can you give some examples, some of the great work you guys are doing here in our communities talking about end of life care and the partnership you guys have?
 
Sarah Asher: Sure. Our Arizona End of Life Care Partnership anchored at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is bringing together diverse sectors, organizations, and individuals to help people gain the tools and resources they need to have these conversations and to normalize these conversations. The partnership is anchored at United Way because the mission of United Way is to build a thriving community by uniting people, ideas, and resources. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do here. We are trying to approach this from a no wrong door approach so that people, all of our partners know enough about each other to get people to the resources and services that they need, no matter which door they enter relative to this ecosystem of community care.
 
Sarah Asher: So whether you enter this through your faith community, or your doctor’s office, or your hospital, or your financial advisor, or your attorney or your social service organization, or even if you’re homeless, we can find help and resources for you to be able to talk about this and document your wishes. We offer free workshops and trainings for individuals and professionals.
 
Bob Roth: Yeah. I love how you described all the different sectors, if you would, that could help you get through this. The first one I always think about is house of worship. Just because all of us have spiritual needs. I’d like to see more people have faith, but the house of worship is probably one of your main places that you go to to really help educate them so they can educate their congregants and let them know that, hey, you want your wishes understood? You need to go through this process. And it’s free.
 
Bob Roth: We’ll talk more about that when we get back. It’s hard to believe we’re down three segments. We got one more to go. We’re talking about Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry. I’ve got Health Current here in the studio with Carla Sutter, and I’ve got Sarah Ascher with the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. Stick around one more segment. We’ll be right back.

Segment 4

Announcer: Now back to Health Futures -Taking Stock In You. If you have questions about your own or your loved ones future healthcare call 602-264-8009. Now here’s your host, Cypress HomeCare Solutions, Bob Roth.
 
Bob Roth: We’re talking end of life care partnership. And what the mission’s all about in terms of getting your wishes known. And we’ve covered a lot of material. And I’ll ask you to go up to our website at cypresshomecare.com, click on the media button, third button down is radio show. You’ll catch this show and about 400 others we’ve been bringing to you for the last eight years.
 
Bob Roth: But as I said, when we kicked off the show, our show is about our guests. Our show is about what they bring to the party and certainly the message that you are trying to convey to the Arizona community and communities outside of the state of Arizona is making sure you have advanced directives. Correct?
 
Carla Sutter: Absolutely.
 
Bob Roth: Good, good, good. And we’re doing a great job of talking about it. I’d love for you to talk about what are the things that are really the impediments for you in getting this message out? And how can we overcome them? I mean, this radio show is one, but obviously you do have a couple other tricks up your sleeves in terms of getting PR, getting messaging out there. We talked about healthcare professionals. We talked about attorneys. We talked about financial advisors. Curious if you have anything you can share with me and with our listeners and what you’re doing?
 
Sarah Asher: I think, Bob, it’s really about breaking down the silos between organizations and creating models to do what you just said, to get the word out. We’ve got to come together and approach this from a human perspective, normalize these conversations and connect the dots. What we’re trying to do with the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership in Tucson is create a model, a community partnership model, that could potentially be replicated in other communities, because this approach has to be customized for a specific community.
 
Carla Sutter: And I think it’s really important that we recognize too that these are documents of choice. And I think sometimes one of the impediments to people completing these documents is they think that their documents have simple limitations. And I think it’s really key for people to know that whether they want to document all of the treatments that they want or those that they don’t want, that these documents are for them. And so that there really isn’t kind of one size to these documents. It really is a philosophical kind of life story that can be told in these documents. And then again, to make sure that we are submitting these to those locations and to those people that can take that information and utilize it at the time that it’s needed.
 
Carla Sutter: And it really does give a peace of mind to be able to put it one side for a period of time, but as you’ve shared, kind of throughout not to forget about this. It’s not a one time, “I’ve done my document. I put it away,” but really to be always thinking, “Does this continue to reflect my wishes?” And whether there is a death of someone in your family, it’s a good time to go back to these documents, a divorce or a change in family status, to go back to that document, “Is this person still the person I want to be making choices for me?” at least every decade that you’re doing that, because life changes and your circumstances change. And if you get a new diagnosis or a change in the status of where your diagnosis is to reflect on these documents, bring them to your physician and ask them to kind of say, “Does this reflect where you see my healthcare and the options that I have available?”
 
Bob Roth: You mentioned divorce and we’ve experienced it in our own company, a situation where a husband and wife were divorced and they never updated their wishes. And the ex-wife was that person that was nominated and that ex-wife did not want to execute on that. And that makes it very difficult. So your point about anytime there’s life changes, you need to revisit those documents, for sure.
 
Sarah Asher: And I think if we’re going to boil this down to the most important thing, number one priority is who’s your person? Identify your healthcare proxy. Who will speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself? Who knows your values? Who knows your priorities? And who can speak for you? Number one.
 
Carla Sutter: And I also want to encourage those who are listening to think about the information we’ve shared, again not just from the personal but the professional as well. And if you are an organization that does have contact with consumers who are putting these documents together, if these are documents that you would be reviewing for the provision of healthcare, to reach out to us and talk with us about how you can become a participating healthcare provider, learn how to assist consumers in getting their accounts set up and for consumers to be able to begin to understand how they will begin to be able to put their documents into the registry.
 
Bob Roth: How do we make this a priority? I spent 10 years on the board for Banner Health, for their Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. And I know the president and CEO, Peter Fine, was on a mission to do just this. And the reason being was, one, it’s the right thing to do and two, just the sheer cost that it is putting on the healthcare system and the federal and state government, because people did not memorialize their wishes and because of the Hippocratic Oath, they’re bringing people back to life. Some of them are in vegetative states and may be in that state forever. And that’s costing our healthcare system a lot of money.
 
Sarah Asher: I heard a statistic that I hear frequently from a health insurance company, a payer, that 25% of healthcare costs can be attributed to treating people in the last six months of their lives. So what a tragedy it is to think about the fact that some of that treatment may be treatment that people don’t even want.
 
Bob Roth: So true. So true. As we wind down our show here, I’d like to ask my guests, is there a question I haven’t asked that you wanted to ask? Is there something that you would like to leave our listeners as we say goodbye to you, Sarah, and to you, Carla?
 
Sarah Asher: I’m thinking about a question we can ask the community at large, which is what makes it difficult for you to start this conversation and what can we do as Health Current and the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership to help you gain the tools and comfort that you need to start these conversations?
 
Bob Roth: So true. So true. I mean, let’s face it. They say taxes and death are definitely two things that are guaranteed in life. And this is such an important conversation. It really is. And for our listeners, I impart to you begin today. Make it today. Have that conversation and start talking about what their wishes are. And I am sure on the website… And I want you to please, if you can, Carla, give us those website addresses again.
 
Carla Sutter: Yeah. It’s healthcurrent.org\azhdr. And you can also go to healthcurrent\radio.
 
Bob Roth: And it’s important for people to understand that look, having these conversations are really important. I would imagine you have on that website ways to get that conversation started, and not only have that conversation started, but having it continued as well.
 
Carla Sutter: Absolutely. There’s short videos, 15 minute videos, that segment each aspect of the things we’ve talked about today, and there’s tools and questionnaire that you can use and take and work with your family, as well as with your clients and patients.
 
Bob Roth: Well, I will make this appeal to you. Anything you guys need in terms of help and getting the message out there, you guys are always welcome to be guests here on my show, and anything I can do to help you. I mean, like I said, I’d love… And we talk to about this offline. I’d love for Arizona to be like La Crosse, Wisconsin. Would say 98% have, the people that live in that community. Now, granted, it’s probably, 1/100th the size of Arizona. But they have everybody signed up and they’ve had these thoughtful conversations. And we need to do the same. So as we wind down, any fun plans for the weekend? You guys watching the Cardinals? Watching baseball? Going out for hikes? The weather is really nice.
 
Sarah Asher: The weather is beautiful. Can’t wait to go out for a hike and a bike ride.
 
Bob Roth: Nice. And how about you, Carla?
 
Carla Sutter: I am getting the good fortune of being able to have conversations with my mom as she’s transitioning to a new house and we’re going to go through all of her stuff and get to hear some stories and get to really have, again, those open conversations about also how to divide this stuff without dividing the family, which is a whole other topic.
 
Bob Roth: Oh, it sure is. And I can’t thank you both enough for being here in my studio sharing with our listeners the importance of making these plans and making sure those wishes are known and nominating rather than appointing somebody, nominating someone to be your voice when you can’t be there. You’ve been listening to Health Futures -Taking Stock in You. Sarah Ascher, Carla Sutter, thank you so much. Make it a great day. Have a great weekend. We’ll be back next Friday.
 
Sarah Asher: Thank you, Bob.
 
Carla Sutter: Thank you.
 
Announcer: There’s no place like home. You’ve been listening to Bob Roth’s Health Futures. If you have questions about your own or your loved ones’ future healthcare, call Cypress HomeCare Solutions at 602-264-8009, that’s 602-264-8009, or visit cypresshomecare.com. Be sure to join Health Futures with Bob Roth every Friday at noon right here on Money Radio 1510 and 105.3 FM
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Carla Sutter

Director, Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry | Contexture

Carla is the Director, Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry (AzHDR) for Contexture, Arizona’s Health Information Exchange (HIE). She holds a master’s degree in Social Work and has spent her 30-year career working with organizations dedicated to helping clients and families care for themselves and others whose needs are changing due to age or illness. Carla has focused on end-of-life tools and conversations and has served as a trainer and facilitator for advance care directives and POLST documents. She is also the author of Where Do We Begin: A Guide to Elder Caregiving.