The Blog to Transform Advanced Care

Advancing Care through Innovation, Observation and Collaboration.

Today, the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) hosted a group of Congressional leaders who explored policy options to improve advanced illness care in the United States.

The discussion was part of C-TAC’s inaugural National Policy Forum, held in the Congressional Auditorium of the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington. The event was designed to educate policymakers, advocate for legislative and regulatory policies to improve advanced illness care and initiate a call to action to ensure individuals and families receive the best care and support possible.

Keynote remarks were provided by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and the office of Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), each of whom have led important efforts to drive positive change for those living with advanced illness and their families.

While delivering his keynote remarks, Sen. Cassidy underscored the need for innovation and the importance of establishing a trusting relationship between clinicians and those receiving treatment.

“The way to get any good outcome in healthcare is to emphasize that patient-provider relationship,” said Sen. Cassidy.

He also emphasized the role of groups like C-TAC in collaborating with lawmakers on issues like advanced care.

“The only way that folks like me are going to know these issues well is if folks like you take the time to come and educate,” Sen. Cassidy said.

Sen. Rosen also noted the need for supporting those with advanced illness, particularly due to an aging population in the U.S.

“We have to think about our population and ways we can age with dignity,” said Sen. Rosen.

Sen. Rosen said that new, adaptive technologies can make a significant impact in the lives of those with serious illness. Ensuring that these tools are available to those who need them most is also important, she explained.

“Every person, every family, no matter what your income level, really needs to be able to benefit from this kind of care to improve the quality of their lives,” said Sen. Rosen.

C-TAC was also joined by Martha Cramer, who serves on the legislative staff of Rep. Blumenauer. During her keynote remarks, she expressed support for the work being done to effect change in advanced care.

“We’re proud to continue working with you all as we improve care for this patient population and their families,” said Cramer.

A focal point of today’s Policy Forum is the Primary Care First initiative, a recently-announced effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation  that will support and expand the tenets of palliative and hospice care for millions of Americans, as indicated by HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

The initiative was influenced by C-TAC’s Advanced Care Model, a proposal submitted to HHS in 2017. C-TAC worked closely with the Obama and, subsequently, Trump administrations and an array of partner organizations over the past several years to help develop a program to enable people living with advanced illness to receive the care they want, when and where they want it.

The event also included a panel discussion which featured Joe Rotella, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Torrie Fields, Senior Manager of Advanced Illness and Palliative Care at Blue Shield California, American Academy of Home Care Medicine President Eric DeJonge, MD, and Amy Gotwals, Chief of Public Policy and External Affairs for the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. The session, which was moderated C-TAC Senior Regulatory Advisor Marian Grant, DNP, ACNP-BC, ACHPN, FPCN, RN, afforded attendees the opportunity to hear timely updates and insider analysis on Primary Care First and what it means for those facing advanced illness and their families. Details about Primary Care First are forthcoming, but today’s Forum offered a venue for policymakers and practitioners alike to come together and discuss how the initiative could shape the future of advanced care.

C-TAC was proud to gather such a diverse gathering of leaders and influencers for our inaugural forum. We look forward to working alongside our legislative champions and partners to continue our support of the advanced illness population.

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