Aligning Practice with Policy:
Advanced Illness Innovation in Action

C-TAC, along with our members and partners, is committed to realizing a future in which all Americans living with advanced illness and their families receive high-quality, comprehensive care that aligns with their goals and values. It is an expansive mission, and one we are proud and honored to be working towards; but what does it mean? If you were to ask someone living with an advanced illness or their caregiver what good care means to them, what might they say? Chances are, the details of those answers would be as unique as the individuals offering them, but common themes would likely emerge amidst the particulars; “I want to be listened to and respected”; “I want to minimize the stress on my loved ones”; “I don’t want to be in pain”; “I want to be able to do things that matter to me”. These sentiments reflect the core of what advanced illness care should strive towards, the North Star to guide providers of all stripes.

Fortunately, C-TAC’s members and partners represent the highest level of advanced illness care innovation, and are guided by the spirit of this person-and-family centered vision. That is why we are proud to be launching a series of blog posts that highlight advanced illness innovation in action. There is great work happening across the country and across the provider spectrum to improve care and quality of life, and we’ll be using this series to share these success stories and best-practices with you.

The programs we’ll be spotlighting are indeed stellar examples of innovative care, but we’ve chosen them for another reason as well - these all-star organizations are emblematic of C-TAC’s larger policy goals and strategy. We recognize that in order to expand and scale the innovations of these programs, there must be a focused commitment to advocate for key federal and state policies that can improve the lives of those with advanced illness and their families. The programs brought to life in these posts reflect some of C-TAC’s key policy priorities for 2019 and beyond:

  • Our features on Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) illustrate C-TAC’s belief that the Aging Network and other community-based organizations (CBOs) can play an integral role in improving advanced illness care. We are pursuing an advocacy strategy to strengthen the Aging Network’s capacity to support high-quality advanced illness care that centers on both the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA), as well as integrated care opportunities within new alternative payment and delivery models.
  • Our series of posts on community-based hospice programs reflects C-TAC’s recognition that hospice providers play a critical part in the care continuum for individuals with advanced illness. C-TAC supports policies that spur innovation in hospice that can positively impact quality of life and increase access to appropriate services. Modernizing the Medicare Hospice Benefit and pushing for policies that will sustain innovative services upstream of hospice’s 6-month life expectancy eligibility are key C-TAC policy goals.
  • A number of pieces feature advanced illness innovation in other healthcare entities. These are organizations that have developed innovative programs that are improving care for those living with advanced illness despite the challenges of contending with outdated and weak Medicare payment mechanisms that frustrate their ability to support and expand this great work. C-TAC’s chief policy priority remains the implementation of a scalable, value-based advanced illness care alternative payment model that fully supports and incentivizes the high-quality, comprehensive care patients and families want and need.

We hope this special series will inspire and enlighten you to think creatively about how advanced illness policy and practice can reinforce and amplify one another. It will be important to kickstart a feedback loop where clinical innovation spurs advocacy energy. C-TAC’s policy goals are mirrored in these special programs, and we look forward to continuing to work together to ensure member and partner best-practices from “back home” inform ours on the Hill.