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Converging on Improved Care for People with Serious Illness

Woman behind man, hugging him

The Stratis Health team is cheering the convergence of interest and activity in improving care for those with serious illness.

Stratis Health has a deep-rooted emphasis on improving care for seniors and for underserved populations, who together make up many of those with serious or advanced illness. We have long worked to change care delivery and payment to better support these patients. Through our Medicare quality improvement efforts, our rural palliative care initiatives, and many projects aimed at addressing one or more chronic conditions, we have been a leader in this area. We are excited about the increasing momentum and attention. I’ll share a few examples of where interest and activity are converging.

The Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) launched a Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness in 2016, addressing a range of policy and research issues. This highly regarded group prioritized five areas:

  1. Delivery of person-centered, family-oriented care
  2. Communication and advance care planning
  3. Professional education and development
  4. Policies and payment systems
  5. Public education and engagement

Workforce needs in serious illness care are its 2019-2020 priority.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is currently shaping its strategy and resources to address patients with multiple chronic conditions. Jane Pederson, Stratis Health’s chief medical quality officer, was selected to be an Aging and Health Policy Fellow this past year by the John A. Hartford Foundation. Her project placement with AHRQ aligned with its planning for multiple chronic conditions. Jane brings her national-level insights to all of Stratis Health’s initiatives.

Medicare has developed new payment options increasingly intended to reward value and quality in caring for those with serious and advanced illness. This shift started with the care coordination codes in the physician fee schedule available a few years ago and continued with the growing number of ACOs with serious illness programs. Now, the movement is toward the new Primary Care First Model launching in 2020, which has a serious illness focus.

The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) has been building its programs and policy agenda in recent years. Its annual summit in Minneapolis this October shined a spotlight on innovative approaches in serious illness care in Minnesota.

And if I could get a drumroll please…at the C-TAC summit, we were thrilled to announce the formation of a Minnesota serious illness coalition, led jointly by Stratis Health and the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care. Stay tuned for more details as the coalition develops.

Jennifer Lundblad


Jennifer P. Lundblad, PhD, MBA

President and CEO, Stratis Health