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Rural Northern Counties Set To Launch Pilot Palliative Health Care Initiative

Four organizations in four rural Northern California counties are set to launch a palliative care pilot project next week.

Partners in Palliative Care is a pilot program created by Partnership HealthPlan of California, a not-for-profit community-based health plan that serves Medi-Cal managed care patients in 14 counties.

The pilot is designed to help seriously ill patients understand their treatment choices and make more informed decisions about them.

“Aligning the provision of care with members’ wishes will support their quality of life and improve the value of care provided,” said Robert Moore, CMO at Partnership.

The program officially starts Sept. 1.

The four providers participating in the pilot are Interim HealthCare in Shasta County; Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services in Napa County; Resolution Care in Humboldt County; and Yolo Hospice in Yolo County.

Services are provided through in-home visits and follow-up phone calls, including some videoconferencing. The idea is to help patients who are near the end of their lives but not necessarily in hospice. Even though they’re seriously ill, they may choose to have interventions to try to cure their conditions, something that hospice patients don’t do.

When people are nearing the end of their lives, their quality of life is important, Moore said. Often interventional therapies cause a lot of side effects that impinge on having that higher quality of life.

The pilot program will first assess patients and manage their pain, then coordinate their care between various providers. It’s designed to be more personal, tailored to individual needs and wishes.

“Offering palliative care to Medi-Cal members falls squarely within the Partnership HealthPlan’s value system and strategic goals,” said Robert Layne, director of government and public affairs at Partnership, in a written statement. “[We] are deeply invested in approaches to improve quality and reduce barriers to care at every stage of life, especially end-of-life.”

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