I’m going to break my own vow never to use the term win-win again and apply it to the topic of today’s blog. If the twin goals of health care reform are to improve the patient experience and harness spending, palliative care is a win-win for sure.

For seriously ill patients, palliative care reduces suffering by easing pain and other symptoms and enhancing emotional well-being. It can avert unnecessary tests, medications and hospitalizations, and otherwise reduce spending.

Awareness of the value of palliative care continues to grow, and public and private payers increasingly understand the merit in covering it. That includes hospitals and health care systems working in shared risk arrangements.

To help, the Center to Advance Palliative Care this summer issued a toolkit called “Improving Care for People with Serious Illness through Innovative Payer-Provider Partnerships.” And a week from tomorrow, on Wednesday, Sept. 24, CAPC will host a Web conference, “Working within Value-Based Contracts to Support Community-Based Palliative Care: Challenges and Solutions in the Health System Environment.”

Among other things, the toolkit defines palliative care and explains its importance in improving value in health care; cites examples of what some payers already are doing to advance palliative care; and provides tools, checklists, action plans and other resources.

The “getting started checklist,” for example, helps users to assess the need in their communities and to identify providers that deliver high quality care, as well as community resources, or the lack thereof. The remainder of the toolkit offers guidance for moving forward.

Next week’s Web conference will feature Kristofer Smith, M.D., vice president and medical director of care solutions for North Shore–LIJ Health System.

CAPC partnered on this project with the National Business Group on Health and the California HealthCare Foundation.