Sunday, April 11, 2010

Accountable Palliative Care Organizations (APCOs)

Recently I was asked by a client to describe the role of Accountable Palliative Care Organizations (APCOs) in creating exemplar practices around "late-life" care within a community (see here for a previous post describing exemplar communities). The client is situated near a shopping mall that had been struggling until it recently brought in a major department store - a topic which had been a subject of an earlier conversation that day. An APCO, I replied, is like an "anchor tenant" of the palliative care community, setting norms to encourage the free-flow of ideas and collaboration, producing enduringly successful communities.

Within these APCOs, physicians , hospices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities adopt measures to blunt harmful financial incentives, thus taking collective responsibility for improving care for those with advanced illnesses (what I'm terming late-life care). Much has been written and commented of late about the role of financial incentives in the health care system, and what provisions in the health care reform bill could bring about better outcomes while containing costs.

I'm curious to learn your thoughts and experiences, as we explore this subject in greater depth in future posts.

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