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As you work towards aligning stakeholders and presenting the case for palliative care to plan decision makers, it’s essential to have talking points that succinctly and clearly communicate the benefits of palliative care. You should take the time to learn about priorities at your plan, and then tailor these sound bites to your audience and what they are likely to care about most. Priorities in your organization could include member satisfaction, health outcomes, cost mitigation, regulatory requirements, equity, and/or provider burnout.

What is the ranking of priorities in your organization?

Palliative care is instrumental in helping members and families cope with the symptoms and stressors of disease, enabling better anticipation and avoidance of crises, and reducing unnecessary or unwanted care. 

Numerous studies have demonstrated that palliative care consistently improves quality of life, the experience of care, and clinical outcomes—all while effectively moderating the cost of care. 

Implementing palliative care could significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for our members with serious illness. Palliative care could fill important gaps in caring for this high-need and high-cost population. Ample evidence indicates that providing this care is financially feasible for health plans. In fact, it might help us reduce our costs. 

All Medi-Cal managed care plans and D-SNPs in California are required to offer palliative care to seriously ill members. Several other states are in the process of creating similar requirements. This trend is intensifying, and palliative care will eventually be universal. We could create a competitive advantage by offering robust palliative care now. 

Palliative care improves the well-being of providers by saving them time and alleviating moral distress. Palliative care specialists help other providers manage difficult-to-control patient symptoms, challenging goals of care conversations, and complex family dynamics. 

Government stakeholders like policymakers and regulators are specifically looking for health plans to demonstrate they are investing in caring for members with serious illness; palliative care is an essential part of meeting these expectations. 

Palliative care teams have expertise in addressing social determinants of health, connecting individuals with other medical and non-medical services, and operating within a patient's community norms and value system to explain services and build trust. All of these help make care more patient-centered and more equitable. 

Palliative care services are particularly beneficial for our highest-risk members: those frequently admitted to the hospital and emergency department. 

Talking Points

Some examples of where to start are below: 

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