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Capital BlueCross announces palliative care initiative

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Capital BlueCross and the Philadelphia-based Health Care Improvement Foundation are collaborating on an initiative they call “a first-of-its-kind for the central Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley regions.”

The goal is improving health care safety, outcomes and the overall patient experience “by zeroing in on one important health initiative at a time,” according to a news release, and the first area of focus is palliative care.

Specifically, the collaborative’s health care system participants have agreed to work with Capital BlueCross and HCIF on improving awareness and use of Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment “by promoting advanced care planning conversations between health care providers and patients with advanced illness and their families, fostering shared decision-making about individualized goals of care, and ensuring the implementation of individualized health care goals across care settings.”

“We have several years of experience with a similar collaborative in southeastern Pennsylvania that is yielding successful results,” HCIF President Kate Flynn said in a news release. “By sharing best practices and leveraging the strengths of each participating organization, collaborative members can learn from each other and accelerate the adoption of proven strategies to improve patient care.”

A regional palliative care steering committee is being formed, with plans for a conference this fall.

The release notes that Hershey Medical Center was an early champion of the partnership and one of the health systems involved in the selection of palliative care as the first initiative. Also, it said, success of the initiative will be monitored and measured by the nonprofit Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance.

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