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Medical News and Perspectives
December 7, 2011

Hospital Palliative Care Programs Raise Grade to B in New Report Card on Access

JAMA. 2011;306(21):2313-2314. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1739

A recent survey that graded the 50 states on access to palliative care bumped the United States up a grade, to a B from a C in 2008. Despite the rapid growth of hospital-based palliative care programs, the survey nonetheless reports ongoing barriers to access: too few trained professionals, knowledge gaps in symptom relief, and the need for new reimbursement models.

The 2011 survey, carried out by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) and the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC) at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, both in New York City, examined data taken primarily from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey Database for 2009. Of the 2489 hospitals with 50 or more beds surveyed, 63% had palliative care programs. Of hospitals with more than 300 beds, 85% had palliative care teams (http://www.capc.org/reportcard/).

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