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Background and Mission

Subsequent to the publication of the Institute of Medicine Report “Approaching Death: Improving Care at the End-of-Life”, the Rochester Individual Practice Association and BlueCross BlueShield Rochester Region End-of-Life/Palliative Care Professional Advisory Committee was formed. This Committee developed and implemented the Rochester Community End-of-Life Survey that was conducted in October – November 2000.

Given the results of the survey, it was apparent that the following dimensions of end-of-life care were in most need of attention:

1) Increasing the acceptance of Advance Directives in our community by:
    a) Increasing the percentage of individuals that understand, complete, and use Advance Directives.
    b) Ensuring acceptance of the completed Advance Directives by health care professionals. 
2) Promoting earlier hospice referrals for terminally ill patients so those social, spiritual, and psychological components of suffering can be properly addressed.

3) Establishing comprehensive pain assessment and treatment standards at all facilities.

4) Encouraging health care institutions to set performance goals as well as track basic statistics regarding end-of-life care.

Results were presented to the Rochester Health Care Forum in January 2001 and the Community-Wide End of Life/Palliative Care Initiative was launched in May 2001, originally entitled Ensuring Excellence in End-of-Life Care/Palliative Care.

The Community-Wide End-of-Life/Palliative Care Advisory Group met and set forth their recommendations:

Original Vision

The Rochester Area will be a preeminent leader in advocating for facilitated discussions on planning for end-of-life care and for ensuring excellence in the provision of End-of-Life/Palliative Care, serving all segments of our community.

Expanded Vision

New York State will be a preeminent leader in advocating for facilitated discussions on planning for end-of-life care and for ensuring excellence in the provision of End-of-Life/Palliative Care, serving all segments of our community.

Mission

The Community-Wide End-of-Life/Palliative Care Advisory Group will serve as a steering committee charged with setting direction for, overseeing and ensuring implementation of a set of broad end-of-life/palliative care projects that result in quality improvements in the lives of those facing death. Our efforts will be replicated and provide clinical and evidence-based research on providing care at the end-of-life.

As the initiative began, leadership and the Advisory Group felt strongly that a focus should be placed on the development of concrete projects that support the vision.  Through the simultaneous launch of sponsorship of the Education for Physicians on End-of-Life Care by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in Upstate New York in 2001, the opportunity to collaborate with health care professionals across Upstate New York in the development and implementation was seized.  A “Build It Once. Use It Multiple Times.” strategy was applied and the vision for Upstate New York became clear.

More than 150 community volunteers participated in launching the Community-Wide End-of-Life/Palliative Care Initiative and the development of original projects showcased on this Web site. The Education for Physicians on End-of-Life Care (EPEC) faculty from across Upstate New York share our mission of providing high quality, person-centered, effective care at the end-of-life and play a critical role in collaborating on concrete projects and replicating our efforts in Upstate New York. Professionals and community volunteers from Western New York, Central New York, Utica Region, Southern Tier and the North Country participate in the development and implementation of these projects. With the Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) Program, the reach extends now across New York State and beyond.

A report to the Rochester Community was presented in November 2001 as part of the Rochester Health Care Forum.  With the decision to close the Rochester Health Commission, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has continued its commitment to the original and expanded vision of The Community-Wide End-of-Life/Palliative Care Initiative and to maintenance and enhancement of this community web site. 

Quantifiable outcome measures of this health care and community collaborative effort were reported at the World Congress for Care Coordination on 10/24/06.  to top