New Online Courses Aim to Educate Physicians and Other Healthcare professionals on Advance Care Planning

Originally posted on April 15, 2016

CSU Institute for Palliative Care launches comprehensive continuing education programs focused on advance care planning conversations and billing

SAN MARCOS, CA – In response to the nation’s growing demand for physicians trained in advance care planning conversations, the California State University Institute for Palliative Care partnered with the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California to co-design a comprehensive continuing education curriculum for healthcare professionals on advance care planning.

Starting in 2016, healthcare providers can be reimbursed for advance care planning conversations with Medicare beneficiaries. The newly implemented reimbursement provides an impetus for clinicians (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants) to spend time exploring patient healthcare preferences and documenting goals of care. In a newly released survey of physicians by the John A. Hartford Foundation, California Health Care Foundation and Cambia Health Foundation found that fewer than one-third of those surveyed reported “having had any formal training specifically on talking with patients and their families about end-of-life care.”

“Patients want to have these conversations with their provider, and providers need to be paid for the time a meaningful conversation requires,” said Helen McNeal, executive director of the CSU Institute for Palliative Care. “The problem is that clinicians haven’t learned how to talk about advance care planning with patients, and their billing departments don’t know how to use the new billing codes.”

The new online curriculum, Effective Advance Care Planning: Skills Building for the Entire Organization, provides detailed information about the critical components of advance care planning and billing in an accessible, cost-effective format. Due to their online format, healthcare professionals from around the country can take the courses at a time and place convenient to them.

Starting in May 2016 the following self-paced courses will become available for registration:
  • Effective Advance Care Planning Fundamentals
  • Facilitating an Advance Care Planning Conversation
  • Building Engagement with Advance Care Planning
  • Billing for Advance Care Planning Conversations
“Reimbursement for advance care planning is a game changer,” said Judy Thomas, CEO of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California. Thomas is an attorney and a co-creator of the advance care planning curriculum. “Advance care planning is an essential component of patient-centered, quality healthcare. Professionals with advance care planning expertise are able to identify and clarify individuals’ choices regarding medical treatment.”

The online courses are launched in recognition of National Healthcare Decisions Day. Observed annually on April 16, National Healthcare Decisions Day exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and healthcare providers about the importance of advance care planning.

Healthcare professionals who want to learn more and register for the new courses can go to Continuing education credits are available to professionals working in all health care settings, including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, geriatric care managers, medical technicians and assistants, discharge planners, chaplains, and billing specialists.

About the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California
The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) is an interdisciplinary collaborative of thought-leaders from healthcare systems and organizations, government agencies, consumer organizations, and individuals working together to promote high-quality, compassionate palliative and end-of-life care for all Californians. Since 1998, CCCC has been working to transform healthcare so that medical care is aligned with individual patient preferences—that people get the care they need and no less, and the care they want and no more. Through advocacy, education, and resource development, CCCC is working to ensure that organizations and communities have the information, knowledge and tools to increase access to advance care planning and palliative care.

About the CSU Institute for Palliative Care
The CSU Institute for Palliative Care offers palliative care-focused professional development and continuing education courses designed to enhance the skills of current and future healthcare professionals across the country and around the world. Housed within one of the largest university systems in the United States, the Institute leverages the strength of the CSU to deliver evidence-based online and in-person palliative care education to healthcare professionals working in health systems, hospices, skilled nursing facilities, health plans, case management, and physician practices. The Institute helps organizations and professionals achieve the palliative care skills needed to meet the growing needs of chronically or seriously ill people in all care settings.