Widespread access to high-quality palliative care for all people living with serious illness requires supportive policy at both the federal and state level. Such policies should address:

  • Access to specialty palliative care, including workforce adequacy and preparation; program availability in all relevant care settings; and reliable payment models
  • Quality of specialty palliative care, including program standards and quality measurement
  • Training of all clinicians in the essential skills (communication, pain and symptom management, family support) necessary to provide quality care to people with serious illness

CAPC collaborates with coalitions and partner organizations to educate stakeholders on palliative care’s value and how policy change could improve access and outcomes. At the federal level, we focus on investing in training for health care professionals, supporting research to expand the palliative care evidence base, and ensuring that the entitlement programs serving the majority of people living with serious illness, particularly Medicare, incentivize and support access to quality palliative care.

States and health care purchasers also play an important role. State-level recommendations address policies for health care professionals and organizations, including licensure and programmatic quality oversight.

Palliative care champions can use these toolkits for information on the current gaps in care, guidance for addressing those gaps, and resources shared by our collaborators on feasible and high-impact policy proposals. To view the state-by-state report card, go to America’s Care of Serious Illness: 2019 State-by-State Report Card on Access to Palliative Care in Our Nation’s Hospitals.

For more information or to share your palliative care policy activities, please contact [email protected].


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