State policymakers increasingly recognize the value of palliative care—not only to the local health care delivery system and state Medicaid programs, but also to employers and families. Palliative care is one of the few solutions that simultaneously improves care quality, reduces burden on family caregivers, and results in more cost-effective use of resources.

Some states have spearheaded policy initiatives to increase access to palliative care, but more needs to be done.

Use this toolkit to learn the issues and opportunities, explore recent state initiatives, and access guidance on implementation. If you are developing or have completed a successful state policy initiative related to palliative care and would like to share your work with other states, please contact

What’s in the Toolkit

Learn about access to palliative care, as well as the laws and regulations that impact the care of the population with serious illness, in your own state.

The Palliative Care Policy GPS

Centralized repository to track and analyze palliative care policies across the entire United States.

2019 State-by-State Report Card

2019 report on growth of hospital palliative care across the fifty states, gaps in access, and federal and state policy recommendations.

Individual State Palliative Care Reports

View your state’s report to find information about palliative care access in your state, along with recommendations to improve it.

State Advisory Council Legislation Tracking

Status tracker for state Palliative Care Advisory Councils or similar bodies. Includes relevant bills, statutes, and associated websites when available.

Locating Discipline-Specific Palliative Care CE Requirements by State

List of resources to identify discipline-specific continuing education requirements in each state, including any palliative care-related requirements.

Get Palliative Care Provider Directory

Searchable directory of specialty palliative care providers, filtered by care setting.

Mapping Community Palliative Care

CAPC’s three-year national research project was the first nationwide scan of community palliative care programs.

Estimated Adult High Need Population by State

The Commonwealth Fund, using claims data, developed estimates of adults with chronic conditions – a subset of which are considered high-need.

Formulate a state policy strategy, including identifying priorities, cultivating partnerships, and communicating with policymakers.

State Palliative Care Forum

Free, centralized forum for palliative care champions to share what they are working on at the state- and local levels.

Advisory Council Suggestions for Getting Started

Suggested activities for newly established state palliative care advisory councils.

Getting Started with State Coalitions and Associations

Blog post with considerations for state policy to improve care for patients with serious illness.

Coalition to Transform Advanced Care Community Engagement Toolkit Companion Guide

Guide and recorded presentations to support palliative care champions as they cultivate and maintain community partnerships.

Reframing Palliative Care: Messages Matter

Presentation on key messaging considerations for palliative care professionals and advocates.

State Definition and Standards

Recommended palliative care definitions and standards used for state legislation.

Regulatory and Licensure Considerations for Community-based Palliative Care

Legal obstacles impeding access to palliative care.

Reflections from a Palliative Care Champion – California’s Kate O’Malley

Blog post on how one state health care foundation got involved in palliative care.

State-Level Interventions to Expand Access to Palliative Care

State palliative care policies, initiatives, and lessons learned from California, Colorado, and South Carolina. CAPC National Seminar Presentation, 2017.

Blueprint for Faith-Based Engagement

Guidance for faith leaders to improve collaborations and community engagement. Coalition to Transform Advanced Care.

Leveraging CME Requirements to Improve Palliative Care Delivery

A deep dive into continuing medical education (CME) requirements across the country and how palliative care fits in.

Resources to identify high-impact state policies and initiatives that will advance palliative care access and quality.

National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP) Resource Hub: State Strategies to Address Palliative Care

Promising state policies and practices to advance access to quality palliative care.

State Issue Brief

How palliative care fills gaps in U.S. health care, and state-level policy recommendations to expand access to it.

Purchaser Toolkit for High-Quality Serious Illness Care

Tools for employers and other stakeholders to specify required benefits and network competencies. Catalyst for Payment Reform and Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2018.

How States Can Expand Access to Palliative Care

Health Affairs blog identifying state levers to expand palliative care access - and how to get started.

Guidance from other organizations working at the state level to improve care for people with serious illness.

National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP) Resource Hub: State Strategies to Address Palliative Care

Promising policies and practices states can use to advance access to quality palliative care for state residents living with serious illness. National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP).

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Palliative Care Resources

Tools to promote policies that improve cancer care, including an annual report tracking individual state progress on adopting model palliative care legislation and other legislative priorities.

California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) Serious Illness & End-of-Life Care Topic Page

CHCF policy initiatives and programming to increase access to palliative care in CA.

Bree Collaborative Palliative Care Project

Excellent example of public-private partnership that developed in-depth recommendations to promote palliative care access and quality in Washington.