Palliative Care: Good Medicine


Palliative Care is

  • Specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses
  • Relieves symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis
  • Improves quality of life for both the patient and the family
  • Provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who provide an extra layer of support
  • Appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness along with curative treatment

Patient Benefits

  • Puts the patient’s goals and wishes first
  • Improves quality of life
  • Relieves suffering by identifying and treating physical, psychosocial and spiritual pain
  • Helps patients and families better understand treatment plans and options
  • Supports the patient and family
  • Reduces unnecessary hospital visits

Utilization & Cost Benefits

  • Reduction in symptom burden
  • Fewer ER visits
  • Fewer hospital admissions/readmissions
  • Fewer number of days in hospital ICU
  • Improved efficiency/reduced costs

Comparing Palliative Care and Hospice

Palliative Care

  • Any time during illness
  • May be combined with curative treatment
  • Independent of payor


  • Requires prognosis of 6 months or less
  • Focus on comfort care
  • Medicare benefit
  • Volunteers are an integral and required aspect of program


SB 294 – Palliative Care Hospice

Senate Bill 294 updated the hospice agency licensing statute to make clear hospice agencies can provide palliative care services to patients who are not on hospice. The bill essentially creates a “pilot” to observe and measure the effects of hospice providers offering palliative care services.

Click here for more information.

SB 1004 – Palliative Care for Medi-Cal Managed Care Enrollees

Senate Bill 1004 (Hernandez) is designed to expand access to palliative care services for Medi-Cal Managed Care Plan enrollees.

California’s Medi-Cal program serves over 13 million people, and of those, over 10 million are in a Managed Care Plan (MCP).

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California is working directly with the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to shape the standards by which MCPs will ensure access to palliative care for Medi-Cal enrollees.

Click here for news and information about SB 1004.


The following is a curated source of custom tools and resources about the benefits of palliative care. The resources on this page were created primarily for an audience of healthcare professionals, but are open to anyone.

20 References to Help You “Make The Case” for Palliative Care (2016)

“Making the case” is a chore that many clinical and administrative leaders need to undertake if they want to create, sustain or expand a palliative care service.

Stakeholders who would be expected to support or refer to a palliative care service need to 1.) understand deficits or improvement opportunities in existing care processes, 2.) how a palliative care service could help with those issues, and 3.) the probability that a palliative care service would be feasible and sustainable from a fiscal perspective.

Gathering evidence and information to address all three of those topics can be time consuming. These 20 references will help you “make the case” for palliative care.

Data & Infographics

  • Uneven Terrain: Mapping Palliative Care Need and Supply in California (2015)
    This data visualization from the California HealthCare Foundation illustrates the estimated need for palliative care in the last year of life in each California county, the number of palliative care programs, the volume of patients they serve, and the sufficiency of current supply.

Factsheets: palliative care, advance care planning, hospice, end-of-life


Tools for Planning & Evaluating Programs

  • 20 References To Help You “Make The Case” For Palliative Care
  • Assessing adherence to the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care  (DOC)
  • Community-based Palliative Care Opportunity Analysis Overview (PDF)
  • Opportunity Analysis Table 1: Baseline Utilization for EOL Population (XLS)
  • Opportunity Analysis Table 2: Month-to-Month Utilization (XLS)
  • Supportive Care Calculator Clinic (XLS)
  • Supportive Care Calculator Home (XLS)

Reports & Articles

  • Snapshots of Palliative Care PracticesSnapshots of Palliative Care Practices (PDF) (2015)
    Snapshots of Palliative Care Practices was compiled as part of a session on palliative care capacity, need, and resources at the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California Annual Summit in April 2015. Participants were asked to share examples of their approaches to working with patients, working with providers, and measuring the impact of their services.
  • Up Close: A Field Guide to Community-Based Palliative Care in California (California HealthCare Foundation)
  • A Better Benefit: Health Plans Try New Approaches to End-of-Life Care (PDF)
  • Developing a Business Plan for Your Outpatient Palliative Care Program: A Technical Assistance Monograph (PDF)
  • Next Generation of Palliative Care: Community Models Offer Services Outside the Hospital (PDF)
  • Pioneers in Palliative Care Across the Continuum (PDF)


  • A Home-Based Palliative Care Consultation Service: Sharp Hospice Care and HealthCare (PDF)
  • Developing a Palliative Care Medical Home: Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PDF)
  • A New Model for Late Stage Disease Management: Sharp HospiceCare (PDF)
  • Palliative Care across the Continuum: Transforming the Healthcare Landscape (PDF)
  • Providing Palliative Care in a Non-Medical Setting: Seniors at Home (PDF)