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The field of palliative care has made tremendous strides over the past decade, with expanded access to services across settings and expanded payment mechanisms through Medicaid managed care plans and other commercial or Medicare plans. Health care leaders are realizing that palliative care improves health outcomes and quality of life while reducing the overall cost of care.


This toolkit provides essential information and resources to assist health plan champions in creating or advancing a palliative care program. 



The toolkit is divided into three sections:


This section includes words of wisdom and encouragement from other health plan leaders who have been instrumental in building palliative care programs.


This section offers suggestions and resources to help make a compelling argument for investing in palliative care. It also includes a video featuring health plan leaders describing the benefits of offering palliative care.


This section outlines actions that a health plan can take to improve access to and increase the quality of palliative care. It also includes resources to support the implementation of these actions.



"The Health Plan Accelerator for Palliative Care" (The Accelerator) is part of a broader initiative, funded by the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), to identify and disseminate actionable opportunities for advancing palliative care over the next 5-10 years. In discussions that informed this initiative, many members of the palliative care movement emphasized that the field of palliative care is at an inflection point in its growth. While specialty palliative care is available in most acute care hospitals, there remains a significant gap in the availability and use of outpatient and home-based palliative care. Acknowledging the vital role that health plans play in expanding equitable and high-quality palliative care, The Health Plan Accelerator was developed by Transforming Care Partners to assist internal champions at health plans in advocating for, developing the business case for, and formulating a plan to further advance palliative care. 

The Accelerator serves as a companion to another CHCF resource, “California’s Palliative Care Evolution:  Celebrating Progress and Shaping the Future”, also developed by Transforming Care Partners. In contrast to the Accelerator, which is tailored specifically for health plans, that resource is designed for leaders representing multiple sectors. These leaders, including those from health systems, providers, community-based organizations, policy makers, government agencies, and membership organizations, all play a role in advancing palliative care. In addition to identifying the drivers of progress in California, that resource highlights eight opportunities and potential actions to further advance palliative care over the next 5-10 years.


Transforming Care Partners would like to extend gratitude and appreciation to the people (listed below) interviewed for this resource, as well as those who provided valuable reviews of early drafts. In generously sharing their time, experiences, and insights, they helped identify feasible and meaningful opportunities for health plans to improve the quality of care delivered to seriously ill members.

Kim Beverly, MSW, MSG

Palliative Care Clinical Program Manager 

Blue Shield of California 

Brynn Bowman, MPA

Chief Executive Officer, Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC); Assistant Professor Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine 

Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 

Kimberly Bower, MD

Medical Director 

Blue Shield of California 

James Cotter, MD, MPH

Associate Medical Director, Health Services Department 

Partnership Healthplan of California 

Mercy Kagoda, MD, MPH

Medical Director of Care Management 

Inland Empire Health Plan 

Will Kennedy, DO

Palliative Care Physician and Medical Director 


Blanca Martinez, MSW, CCM

Director of Case Management 

Molina Healthcare 

Kate Meyers, MPP

Senior Program Officer 

California Health Care Foundation 

Robert Moore, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer 

Partnership Healthplan of California 

Tom von Sternberg, MD

Medical Director SNP, Medicare, and Care Management 


Susan Stone, MD, MPH

Senior Medical Director 

L.A. Care Health Plan 

Susan Elizabeth Wang, MD

National Medical Director, Dignified Journeys & Palliative Care; SCAL Chief, Geriatrics & Palliative Medicine 

Kaiser Permanente 

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