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Evolution of Palliative Care in the Department of Veterans Affairs: Lessons from an Integrated Health Care Model.
Sullivan DR, Teno JM, Reinke LF. Evolution of Palliative Care in the Department of Veterans Affairs: Lessons from an Integrated Health Care Model. Journal of palliative medicine. 2022 Jan 1; 25(1):15-20.
Palliative care (PC) is beneficial, however, in many settings it is under-resourced and unable to consistently meet the needs of patients and their families. A lack of national health policy support for PC contributes to underutilization and the low value care experienced by many patients with serious illness at the end of life. Through a series of transformative health care structure and process improvements including developing robust initiatives and promoting institutional culture change, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has significantly improved the quality of PC among veterans. VA's strategic simultaneous top-down and bottom-up approach to develop programs, policies, and initiatives provides important perspectives and deserves attention toward advancing PC in the broader U.S. health care system. Although opportunities for improvement exist, the comprehensive framework within VA should help inform the future of program development and serve as a model for integrated and accountable care organizations to emulate.