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When community members with an interest in promoting advance care planning come together and coordinate their efforts, good things can happen.

With that in mind, Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) recently partnered with the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) to support the development of four new community-based coalitions in northern California devoted to advance care planning (ACP).

“Our mission is to help our members, and the communities we serve, be healthy, and we see advance care planning as an important way to support that mission and improve the patient experience,” said Robert Moore, MD, CEO of PHC. “Partnering with other ACP advocates in our communities strengthens everyone’s efforts and greatly expands our potential impact.”

While there is no lack of enthusiastic ACP partners in PHC’s covered communities, some areas lacked a strong local coalition and the leadership and coordination it provides. PHC recognized that with a little financial support and guidance, some of these communities might be able to identify volunteer leaders and come together under the umbrella of an ACP coalition.

Seeing an opportunity to support its own mission, PHC funded a special Advance Care Planning Community Coalitions grant and turned to CCCC, with its long history of actively supporting and working with local coalitions, to develop and manage the grant program and provide education to the grant recipients.  

Under the 18-month grant, four communities were identified and selected to receive financial, leadership, educational, mentorship, and logistical support from PHC and CCCC to help establish ACP coalitions and expand advance care planning in their communities.

The new coalitions formed under the grant are:

The volunteer leaders from the four coalitions were brought together for a kick-off event at PHC headquarters in Fairfield, where they participated in a full-day of CCCC’s Let’s Talk: Putting Advance Care Planning Into Practice training to prepare them to provide ACP education and activities in their communities.  They also received tools and handouts from CCCC about the development, constitution, and maintenance of a local coalition to guide their future efforts.

To learn from more established coalitions and their leaders, the cohort was encouraged to participate in CCCC’s monthly local POLST/ACP coalition support calls where leaders from California 24+ coalitions are invited to share experiences in community-based ACP. The new coalitions also sent representatives to the CCCC’s Annual Palliative Care Summit, where they attended a special breakfast meeting for local coalition leaders, met with other volunteer leaders, and heard first-hand about other coalitions’ activities and issues.

At the 12-month mark of the grant, the cohort gathered to present PowerPoint presentations about their first-year experiences.  They shared successes and challenges, and engaged in brainstorming and discussion about how to sustain their efforts.  They also brought their table-top displays and shared the ACP collateral materials that they had produced.

In August 2019, the cohort had their last in-person gathering at the PHC headquarters to brainstorm and share ideas about sustainability.

Long-term sustainability is a challenge for any local coalition with volunteer leadership, but with the support of CCCC and PHC, and the solid foundation developed under the grant, the future looks bright for these four new ACP coalitions and the communities they serve.

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