Task Force Identifies Ways to Improve End-of-Life Care Provided by Managed Care Organizations

Improving end-of-life care in managed care report

Between 1997 and 1998, the Education Development Center, a nonprofit research and development organization in Newton, Mass., convened the interdisciplinary National Task Force on End-of-Life Care in Managed Care.

The purpose of this project was to encourage better terminal and palliative care for the growing number of Medicare, Medicaid and commercial beneficiaries being served by managed care organizations.

The task force brought together 23 experts in health care policy, managed care, geriatrics, long-term care, bioethics, palliative care, medicine and nursing, and hospice. It was the first time such a disparate group had been brought together to focus on end-of-life care.

Key Results

  • The task force recommendations and a series of specific action steps were published in an 85-page report entitled Meeting the Challenge: Twelve Recommendations for Improving End-of-Life Care in Managed Care.

  • The recommendations and action steps focused on three areas:

    • Improvement of access to humane and effective end-of-life care.
    • Strengthening of accountability on the part of plans and providers.
    • Development and evaluation of payment methods that would properly compensate plans and providers for the costs of caring for gravely ill patients without compromising access or quality.

Key Recommendations

  • Providing of managed care insurance products that cover humane and effective end-of-life care for patients and families.

  • Focusing of continuous quality improvement efforts on end-of-life care.

  • Testing of new methods for aligning financial incentives with the provision of humane and effective care.