Effects of End of Life Care Project in Sacramento Area Examined
The Sacramento Bee on Thursday examined the influence of the Extreme Care, Human Options project on end-of-life care in the Sacramento region.
A report released Wednesday by Dartmouth Medical School and the California HealthCare Foundation found that patients in the Sacramento area spent fewer days in the hospital and intensive care units, saw fewer physicians and had fewer physician visits than patients in other regions of the state with similar conditions. In addition, the quality of care for patients who had chronic illnesses with a high probability of death was rated higher in Sacramento, and Medicare reimbursements for services were lower than in other regions.
The ECHO project, launched in 1995, established five goals in providing end-of-life care:
- Explaining treatment options for dying patients;
- Identifying those at risk of unwanted or inappropriate care;
- Improving communication between physicians and patients' families;
- Appointing decision-makers for dying patients; and
- Educating medical staff.
Linda Van Allen, a utilization management executive at Sutter Health, said the project has resulted in fewer ICU stays, lower discharge costs and higher satisfaction among patients and families (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 11/17).
In related news, KPCC's "AirTalk" on Wednesday included a discussion of the study with J. Thomas Rosenthal, associate vice chancellor of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles and chief medical officer at UCLA Medical Center (Mantle, "AirTalk," KPCC, 11/16). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.