It was great to see Rich Umbdenstock, the AHA’s president emeritus, this week at the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care’s summit on the future of advanced illness care. Rich recently joined the board of C-TAC, a diverse alliance of patient, provider, private sector and faith-based groups dedicated to ensuring patients receive comprehensive, high-quality care that is consistent with their values and honors their dignity. Speaking at this week’s summit, I noted how hospitals, physicians, nurses and others are leading the way toward better practices in providing care at the end of life. They are making inroads into one of the most difficult aspects of health care by expanding the current boundaries of who is served, and when palliative and end-of-life services can better fulfill the wishes of patients. Policy changes can help our palliative care leaders accomplish even more by removing barriers that prevent the integration of advanced illness management into the care continuum so that all people with life-limiting illnesses and their families are supported in every setting. These critical services need to be available to all our patients, no matter the progression of their illness. Under Rich’s leadership, the AHA joined C-TAC upon its founding as part of our mission of providing the right care at the right time. We will continue to support C-TAC’s valuable work (http://www.thectac.org/) and encourage you to get involved in this movement to improve the state of palliative care…and help expand access to it as well. 

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