By Craig Dresang, Executive Director, Yolo Hospice
Yolo Hospice is one of just four hospices in Northern California selected to participate in a Partnership HealthPlan of California pilot program for palliative care. This pilot is part of a larger state-wide effort to create community based palliative care models for California’s
12 million Medi-Cal patients. Since Governor Brown signed SB1004 in the fall of 2014, Yolo Hospice has been participating in stakeholder workgroups to support the development and definition of community based palliative care in California. The other three organizations selected for this project include Napa Valley Hospice, Interim HealthCare in Redding, and Resolution Care, headquartered in Eureka.
The purpose of palliative care is to improve the overall quality of life for patients and families who are facing a chronic life-threatening illness. Partnership HealthPlan first initiated this pilot project because health care provider organizations, payers, and the health policy community increasingly recognize that there are significant opportunities to improve care for people with serious and/or life-limiting illness. While medical advances have provided great benefit to some, many people with serious illness still experience physical and emotional distress, as well as a lack of alignment between their personal values and goals and the medical care they receive.
Multiple studies have shown that specialized palliative care services address these needs in a more patient-centered way. In fact, a New England journal of Medicine study has demonstrated that patients with advanced disease who accessed early palliative care support in addition to standard treatments had improved symptom control, enhanced quality of life, and lived longer than similar patients who had treatments without palliative care. With a focus on defining and adhering to patients’ goals of care, managing pain and symptoms, addressing psychosocial and spiritual issues, and coordinating care among multiple providers and settings, palliative care addresses all components of care to help patients not just feel better, but to be better. It can also lower healthcare costs by helping patients to stay in the care setting of their choice (typically their home) as opposed to other more expensive settings.
This new program, called YoloCares, will be an important addition to the organization’s portfolio of services. Hospice care is for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less, while palliative care does not have this restriction. YoloCares will allow the organization to bring quality compassionate care to a wider population of people in need.
In other Yolo Hospice news
Veterans Program earns highest achievement
The organization recently achieved a new status as a 4-Star partner of the national We Honor Veterans program. We Honor Veterans is an initiative founded and sponsored by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The fourth star is the highest level of recognition an agency can receive.
Yolo Hospice staff are uniquely trained to support the special needs of veterans and their families at end-of-life.
Quality Scores in top 10% nationally
During the first quarter of 2015, three of Yolo Hospice’s quality indicators were in the top 10% nationally. Scores are pulled from the Family Evaluation of Hospice Care (FEHC) survey, used by hundreds of hospices across the country. Yolo Hospice’s scores exceeded both the national and State of California averages in the categories of:
- Coordination of Care
- Attending to Family Needs
- Patient/Family Communication
State of California surveys Yolo Hospice
The most recent California Department of Public Health recertification survey revealed that Yolo Hospice met all of the federal and state hospice conditions of participation for Medicare. On-site surveyors also referred to some of the organization’s programs as “best practices.”
For more information about Yolo Hospice, call 530-758-5566, or visit us on Facebook or online at www.yolohospice.org.