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Palliative Care
December 15, 2022

As Martin Luther King, Jr., noted, “of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Unfortunately, evidence suggests that racism and other factors continue to impact the care given to Black patients with serious illnesses negatively. A literature review by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) has revealed that Black Americans suffer disproportionately compared to their white counterparts when it comes to pain management, communication with providers, and burdens placed on family caregivers.

In response, CAPC has launched a health equity initiative to identify national challenges and opportunities when it comes to quality palliative care for Black patients. The project was funded jointly by AVDF, the Commonwealth Fund, and The John A. Hartford Foundation.

Summary findings from the study along with the CAPC’s five recommended strategies for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans were published in the December 8, 2022 issue of Health Affairs Forefront. The five recommendations include using standardized assessment processes with pain and symptom assessment, surveying patients on whether they are receiving adequate help for pain, incentivizing access to specialty palliative care services within network providers, expanding access to pain management treatments outside of pharmaceuticals, and eliminating unnecessary suffering through a change in policies and practices.

To learn more about the CAPC’s health equity initiative to improve the palliative care of Black patients, click here.

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