Compassion and Support


Patients & Families

Press Conference with Spiritual Leaders

Advanced Care PlanningOn September 24, 2002, a diverse cross-section of spiritual leaders along with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and the Rochester Health Commission, co-leaders of the Community-Wide End-of-Life/Palliative Care Initiative, announced a major new campaign to help improve the quality of care at the end-of-life. The Advance Care Planning campaign encourages all Rochester area residents to talk with their loved ones about their wishes at the end-of-life and to complete the New York State Advance Care Directives.

Because a person’s religious faith can have a great influence on an individual’s choices for end-of-life care, ten leaders from local spiritual communities endorsed their faith communities’ participation in this initiative. The clergy members signed their own advance care directives at a public ceremony. Among the spiritual leaders present at the signing were Bishop Matthew Clark (Roman Catholic Diocese) Bishop Jack McKelvey (Episcopal Diocese) Dr. Muhammad Shafiq (Imam of the Islamic Center of Rochester) and Rabbi Laurence Kotok (Temple B’rith Kodesh).

“Together, we are encouraging people to give their families and themselves the gift of peace of mind by assuring that their wishes are known ahead of time,” said David Klein, president of Excellus.

“We are pleased that Excellus is taking a lead role in ensuring access to quality services in end-of-life care through collaboration with the Rochester Health Commission, as part of the Rochester Health Care Forum,” said Al Charbonneau, president of the Rochester Health Commission. “This approach ensures that end-of-life services will address the needs of all those in the community and serve as one of the major building blocks to establish Rochester as a model health care community.”

“As a part of our commitment to this campaign, we have produced and will distribute, an Advance Care Planning booklet,” said Patricia Bomba, M.D., ViCE President and Medical Director, Geriatrics for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “This booklet will be available to the entire community through the Internet or by contacting our customer service department. It will have all the tools you need to complete your advance care directive forms.”

The principles of advance care planning are simple. Discussing your wishes for your medical care with loved ones in advance will ensure your wishes are honored in the event that you can’t speak for yourself. Completing the advance care directive forms, including Health Care Proxy and Living Will, can ease the burden on families confronted with making difficult choices for loved ones who are facing life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

Conference Speakers