Oncology Stakeholders Summit, Spring 2015 - Episode 8

Integrating Palliative Care Professionals Into Practice: Will It Work?

Ted Okon, MBA, and Bruce Feinberg, DO, further discuss why end-of-life care for patients with cancer remains so challenging. Dr Feinberg notes that data now reveal an increase in intensive care unit use during the last month of a patient’s life, and larger numbers of patients being referred to hospice for 3 days or less.

In an effort to close gaps in end-of-life care and address patients’ advanced care planning concerns, accountable care organizations are now integrating palliative care physicians and nurses into oncology practices, explains Brian Kiss, MD. “They are integrating palliative care into the practice and into their processes from the beginning and that’s kind of an encouraging element,” says Dr Kiss.

However, Dr Feinberg highlights reasons why these changes may become problematic. Dr Feinberg explains that ACOs utilize a different reimbursement structure. Additionally, he is concerned that because palliative care physicians and nurses generate less income than medical oncologists, financial matters may impede the effects of these professionals to work as equal partners.