The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) will study Blue Shield of California’s home- based palliative care program in the San Francisco Bay Area to develop guidelines, tools and best practices for payers who are interested in adopting this model of care. The two-year study is supported by a $500,000 grant from the Stupski Foundation.
Blue Shield’s home-based palliative program is a unique collaboration that includes the health plan’s Accountable Care Organization providers. This month, Blue Shield launched the program in San Francisco with Hospice by the Bay, UCSF Health and Hill Physicians Medical Group. Blue Shield plans to roll out the program with additional Bay Area providers later this year.
C-TAC’s two-year study will evaluate the effectiveness of Blue Shield’s program and assess potential regulatory and public policy barriers in implementing this care model for seriously ill patients.
“We are excited to support C-TAC to broaden the understanding of the options available to people with serious illness and ensure local health systems are dedicated to delivering care the patient wants,” said Glen Galaich, CEO of the Stupski Foundation. “Through this important work, we are exploring ways to make it easier for health care providers to offer these services to people with advanced illness and support their families.”
The San Francisco Bay Area’s home-based palliative care program focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness, improving quality of life for both the patient and the family, and delivering comprehensive care in the setting most patients prefer – their home.
The program, available to all patients enrolled in a Blue Shield of California health plan, brings together an interdisciplinary care team that includes a physician, nurse, social worker and chaplain. This team provides pain and symptom management, psychosocial support, advance care planning, grief counseling, disease management education, spiritual counseling, and other services as needed for patients and caregivers.
Earlier this year, Blue Shield announced a similar program in the greater Sacramento area in collaboration with Hill Physicians Medical Group and Snowline Hospice. The health plan is planning to make the program available in additional regions in California.
“Blue Shield of California is a mission-driven nonprofit health plan that is focused on providing people access to quality and effective care,” said Jeff Bailet, MD, executive vice president at Blue Shield. “By working in close collaboration with our providers, we believe we can deliver meaningful, comprehensive care especially for those who are seriously ill.”
Separately, the home-based palliative care model is also being studied by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) through a $5 million funding award provided by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). USC researchers will analyze the clinical results of the model and evaluate the effectiveness of home-based palliative care versus primary care clinic-based palliative care.
C–TAC is a non–profit, non–partisan coalition comprised of over 140 national organizations that share a common vision of improving advanced illness care for all Americans. The Coalition works to ensure that all those with advanced illness, especially the sickest and most vulnerable, receive comprehensive, high– quality, person– and family–centered care that is consistent with their goals and values and honors their dignity.