Why palliative care

Palliative Care is patient- and family-centered care that prioritizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating symptoms associated with serious illness while addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Generally, palliative care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other specialists working together to provide patients an extra layer of support, regardless of age or stage of their serious illness. Studies show palliative care results in better patient and family satisfaction, improved home safety and medication management, and can be provided alongside curative treatment, helping patients, families and caregivers through challenging times.

Why palliative care needs consensus standards

To increase the spread of palliative care, a group of interested individuals convened as the California Advanced Illness Collaborative (CAIC). The mission was to make high quality palliative care available as a standard part of medical care for all Californians, with an initial strategy to define standards for palliative care across a community or system, and to pilot the standards. Initiated and co-chaired by Dr. Marcus Thygeson, MD, Chief Health Officer of Blue Shield of California and Judy Thomas, JD, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, they convened experts including healthcare researchers, providers and health plan representatives as a CAIC Planning Group. Together, this group of thought leaders developed the following Community-Based Palliative Care Consensus Standards for CaliforniaThe goal is to accelerate implementation and access to palliative care services through a standard approach which will, in turn, enable providers to standardize operating procedures, referrals and care in their communities. These Consensus Standards are specifically designed to build off prior work of the CHCF Payer-Provider Partnerships for Palliative Care, as well as developmental implementation work related to SB 1004.

The California Advanced Illness Collaborative (CAIC) has been funded, in part, by the 2016 Practice Change Leaders (PCL) program made possible by the generous support of the Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited life foundation, and the John A. Hartford Foundation. The PCL program is under the direction of Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH. To learn more about the program, please visit www.changeleaders.org.

Development process

The Standards were publicly released in March 2017 at the Coalition for Compassionate Care 9th Annual Summit as a panel discussion by Judy Thomas, JD, Dr. Marcus Thygeson, Dr. James Mittelberger, (Director and Chief Medical Officer, Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, OPTUM) and Jill Mendlen, RN (Founder and CEO, LightBridge Hospice& Palliative Care and LightBridge Medical Associates). A video of this presentation is available below.

The Standards were published on this website on March 21, 2017, with public comment and feedback requested. This document incorporates and addresses the feedback we received.

Beginning January 2018, the Standards are being tested in a multi-payer/multi-provider pilot, funded by the California Health Care Foundation.