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What’s Happening in Palliative Care

Mary Lynne Courtney | Published on 3/11/2024
In February, Donna Inglis, PeaceHealth Foundation Vice-President, Amber Asbjornsen, Chief Development Officer, St. Joseph Foundation, and Leslie Clements, PeaceHealth System Director for Palliative Care spoke to our Healthcare Issues Team about the reinstated Palliative Care Program at PeaceHealth.   

The new Palliative Care Program is a consult-based model and is not limited to certain diagnoses, but accepts anyone with a life-limiting chronic illness. Palliative care services specific to oncology are clinic based. Referrals usually come from the patient’s healthcare provider, but friends or relatives of the patient can contact the Palliative Care team and they will facilitate a referral from the patient’s physician.  

Currently, the Palliative Care program is staffed by a nurse, a social worker, and a medical assistant. By June 2024, with the addition of a nurse practitioner, a half-time pharmacist, and a half-time chaplain, they expect to be fully staffed.  

Leslie Clements said that the previous Palliative Care Program at PeaceHealth was ended due to the post-Covid financial problems experienced across all healthcare. In addition, palliative care services are paid using a fee-for-service model and many services are not reimbursed. Although the current program is not financially self-sustaining, Donna Inglis stated that PeaceHealth is committed to the program. 

Regarding funding of the current Palliative Care program, Amber Asbjornsen said there are some funds left over from the previous program and that the Board has allocated another million dollars in unrestricted funds to cover the next four or five years. They also established a quasi-endowment to sustain the program long-term. They are not seeking donations at this time, but plan to use the current funding.

For more information, a link to their presentation can be found on the LWVBC website.  Select Our Work, then Healthcare.  Or Click here

The next Healthcare Issues Team meeting will be on March 18th at 10 am on Zoom.  Our speaker will be Chuck Prosper, Chief Executive PeaceHealth Northwest.

—Mary Lynne Courtney