Press Releases

White House Health Reform Stakeholder Discussion Brings Palliative Care to the Table

Center to Advance Palliative Care Director, Diane E. Meier, MD, Points to Workforce and Non-Hospice Palliative Care

New York, NY (June 19, 2009) — Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, held the third and last in a series of White House health care stakeholder discussions with physicians on Thursday, June 18. Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) director, Diane E. Meier, MD, was asked to join the discussion focused on health reform in the context of prevention and costs.

Meier told the panel that preventing the wrong care can help save the health system money that can be used to pay for wellness and prevention. Many people facing serious illness get the wrong care in the wrong place at the wrong time. The most effective model for combating this trend is non-hospice palliative care, Meier said. She added, "We can talk about health care reform and prevention until we are blue in the face, but we won't have the workforce we need to truly change the system unless we talk about medical and nursing education." Meier pointed specifically to the graduate medical education system, loan forgiveness, and changing the incentives that deter many new doctors from entering the primary care field.

Palliative care is the interdisciplinary specialty that focuses on improving quality of life for patients with serious illness, and for their families, through expert pain and symptom management, care coordination and informed decision making. Palliative care is not the same as hospice care and is not dependent on prognosis. It is provided alongside all other appropriate treatments.

Ms. DeParle was joined by Dr. Zeke Emanuel from the Office of Management and Budget, Dr. Bob Kocher from the National Economic Council, Dr. Kavita Patel from the Office of Public Engagement, and Dr. Dora Hughes from the Department of Health and Human Services. For this meeting the White House introduced an experimental online chat feature that allowed people to watch the event live and ask questions through Facebook at apps.facebook.com/whitehouselive.

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The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) provides health care professionals with the tools, training, and technical assistance necessary to start and sustain successful palliative care programs in hospitals and other health care settings. Located at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, CAPC is a national organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality palliative care services for people facing serious illness. CAPC is supported solely by foundations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. www.capc.org and www.getpalliativecare.org. Follow Dr. Meier at twitter.com/dianeemeier.

Contact: Lisa Morgan, LDM Strategies, 212-924-6182 or lmorgan@ldmstrategies.com.

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