Last week a recently formed group called the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) announced its action plan to improve health care delivery for the sickest and most vulnerable Americans – those with advanced illness. According to C-TAC, advanced illness “occurs when one or more conditions become serious enough that general health and functioning decline, and treatments begin to lose their impact.” On the health care continuum, an illness becomes advanced when serious, progressive chronic conditions begin to limit daily activities and can continue until hospice eligibility and the end of life. Patients suffering from advanced illness often suffer the most from fragmented care and misaligned incentives in the health care system, and, in addition, these patients are also driving the majority of health care costs.
C-TAC’s mission, which is “to transform the care of people with advanced illness by enhancing provider capacity, changing the health delivery system, empowering consumers, and improving public and private policies,” is bold and ambitious, but there are reasons for optimism. Bill Novelli, Co-Founder of C-TAC, former CEO of AARP, Professor in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, and the Founder and President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, outlinec some of these reasons in a recent opinion piece in the AAMC Reporter.
C-TAC has some of the best and brightest minds working on the issue with representatives from leading provider groups and health systems, innovative health plans, hospice and palliative care organizations, home care, long term care, clinicians, faith-based organizations, and academics, all of whom who recognize the urgency of the situation. Tom Koutsoumpas, Executive Director of the Mintz Levin Center for Health Law & Policy, is a co-founder of C-TAC, and he currently serves as co-chair of the Board of Directors. Many of the groups participating in C-TAC released statements of supportoutlining their reasons for taking on this initiative.
With the baby boomers set to age and the number of Americans living with advanced illness set to increase significantly, this issue is one that will touch us all.