Palliative care advocacy groups (Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) and the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC)) have released a new study grading states palliative care availability. The goal of the report is to inform and help citizens and government officials take action on the current state of services available in their area.
The main takeaways are that Americans who live in less urban areas or individuals with insurance that only allows them to go to for-profit hospitals should be cautious of what is available for them. While it´s likely not a shock to rural residents there are limitations to the services available to them, people living in the south central region of the states should investigate their options since they have the worst rating in the US. And countrywide there is a big healthcare infrastructure problem with for-profit hospital services, which don’t ́t have a financial incentive to provide services for palliative care since it’s not a profitable service.
Overall there is an improvement though, with three quarters of states now having a grade of A or B. And the number of states with A grades increased to 21 from 17 in 2015 and three in 2008. When speaking to John Commins (HealthLeaders Media) Diane E. Meier, MD, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, credited many of the advances in palliative care access and quality to a growing palliative care workforce, changes in reimbursements, evidence-based quality initiatives, and enhanced clinical training.
Hopefully the large and aging population of baby boomers who will be utilizing many of the services in the near future with the passing of their parents can take this information with them into the voting booths in the coming months, before it’s too late.