Two out of every three Arizona hospitals offered palliative care in 2013 and that was good enough to earn our state a “B” on a recent nationwide study. The “2015 State-By-State Report Card on Access to Palliative Care in Our Nation’s Hospitals” graded states based on the percentage of hospitals that had palliative units.
Palliative care offers “specialized medical care to patients with serious illnesses,” focusing on pain, stress and symptom relief, said Sean Morrison, one of the authors of the report card. Ot (the report card) said 68.4 percent of Arizona’s hospitals offered the care in 2013, slightly better than the national average of 66.5 percent.
Advocates in Arizona believe the state is doing well relative to other states and admit “it isn’t always easy” for hospitals to come up with the funds to start palliative care units. According to our own Sandy Severson of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, start-up funding is not the only financial challenge for the specialty. Sandy was quoted in multiple published reports.
“It’s not a revenue generator for hospitals,” said Sandy Severson, vice president of care improvement for the hospital association.
Severson said that’s why many hospitals contract out the work. “It’s really a cost avoidance,” she said.
But she said the association supports delivery of palliative care at Arizona’s hospitals, noting that for hospital leaders “it should be a moral imperative to support living and dying well.”
Arizona is one of 17 states and the District of Columbia that earned a “B.” 17 states earned an “A” while nine received a “C” and seven were given “D’s.” We would love to get your feedback on the future of palliative care in Arizona. Drop us a line and let us know what you think.