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Blue Shield of California’s home-based palliative care program is focus of two-year study

BY CHRIS JAEGER, M.D., MBA – Today, the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) announced it will embark on a two-year study on Blue Shield of California’s home-based palliative care program in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their goal is to develop toolkits that health plans and providers in Accountable Care Organizations can use to implement such a program.

C-TAC is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition that includes more than 140 national organizations that share a common vision of improving advanced-illness care for all Americans, and the study is being supported by a $500,000 grant from the Stupski Foundation.

Blue Shield’s home-based palliative care focuses on improving the quality of care for seriously ill patients by providing them a comprehensive suite of medical, emotional and social support in their home. That means house calls by physicians and nurses; meal deliveries and transportation services; grief counseling; and even spiritual counseling if the patient requests it. And to deliver this care, we work with local hospices and Blue Shield’s Accountable Care Organization providers.

We first rolled out this initiative in Sacramento early this year, and now it is available in the Bay Area where we are working with Hospice by the Bay, UCSF Health and Hill Physicians Medical Group. Over time, we plan to expand our home-based palliative care program in the Bay Area and throughout California.

By working in close collaboration with our providers in this important program, we believe we can deliver meaningful, comprehensive care especially for those who are seriously ill.

Chris Jaeger, M.D., MBA, is Vice President of Strategy & Development at Blue Shield of California.