Department of Health Care Services Seeks Comments on Quality Measures for Medi-Cal’s Pilot Palliative Care Service

Originally posted on June 11, 2015

UPDATE (June 25, 2015): The Department of Health Care Services extended the deadline to comment on the quality measures for the Medi-Cal pilot palliative care service. People interested in providing comments have until 5 p.m. on Friday, June 26, 2015.


The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is in the process of establishing a set of metrics for measuring the quality of palliative care services provided to Medi-Cal beneficiaries pursuant to SB 1004. The Department released a matrix of potential metrics during the SB 1004 stakeholder meeting on June 5, 2015, and has invited feedback.

DHCS plans to create a dashboard modeled after existing Medi-Cal Managed Care Monitoring applications.

With more than 60 measures cited in the draft matrix, DHCS Associate Director of Policy Anastasia Dodson recommends stakeholders focus on providing comments on their top five metrics.

Interested stakeholders are asked to submit comments by Friday, June 19, 2015.

Follow these steps to submit comments:
Organizations that contributed to the development of the palliative care performance matrix include the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, Let’s Get Healthy California, National Quality Forum, University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill, Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, RAND Corporation, and the American Society on Clinical Oncology.

During the stakeholder meeting on June 5, Dodson stressed the need for clarity and agreement on the definitions and services provided under palliative care. Dodson also cited the timeliness of this effort due to the growing awareness of care provided at the end of life.

Other information presented during the meeting included a summary of the survey responses received from Medi-Cal managed care plans regarding their current palliative care efforts. The survey touched on current resources to encourage and track advance care planning, as well as care coordination and cultural sensitivity issues that impact palliative care.

At the request of DHCS, the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California presented on the importance and value of advance care planning, as well as resources available to help consumers and healthcare providers engage in advance care planning.

SB 1004, which passed the legislature in 2014 with overwhelming and bipartisan support, is designed to expand access to palliative care services for beneficiaries of Medi-Cal managed care plans, which serve more than half of all people in the Medi-Cal program.