A Transformative Investment:
Cambia Health Foundation’s $10 Million Gift to Palliative Care
In December 2014, Cambia Health Foundation announced that it will provide a $10 million gift to UW Medicine for its Palliative Care Center of Excellence, a gift that will secure the future of the center. The newly re-named Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence will employ research and education to improve quality of life for patients who need palliative care: those at the end of life as well as patients with serious illnesses, chronic conditions or traumatic injuries.
Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience health care. The foundation has supported the advancement of palliative care since 2009. This gift is the foundation’s largest investment to date, bringing total funding for regional and national palliative care programs and initiatives to just over $22 million.
“The Cambia Palliative Care Center for Excellence at UW Medicine has quickly become a national role model for best practices in palliative care education, metrics and implementation, and we are proud of our ongoing partnership,” said Peggy Maguire, president and board chair of the Cambia Health Foundation. “This investment underscores our belief that, together, the foundation and the Cambia Palliative Care Center for Excellence will be a catalyst for growth and innovation in the field of palliative medicine, both regionally and nationally.”
This transformative investment at UW Medicine will be used to create three endowments totaling $8 million, which will support research, education and training, and clinical leadership in perpetuity. An additional $2 million will enable the center to have an immediate impact on improving care. The center’s goal is to see that palliative care has an integral and prominent role in healthcare — regionally, nationally and internationally — for seriously ill patients and their families.
“The Cambia Health Foundation has provided truly visionary support for palliative care,” says Paul G. Ramsey, M.D., the CEO of UW Medicine. “Their belief in our work has allowed us to succeed, and we are enormously grateful for their partnership in enhancing research, education and excellent patient-centered palliative care programs at UW Medicine.”
Palliative Care Making Headlines
Palliative care has become a significant part of the national healthcare conversation in the last several years. In October, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its Dying in America report, which helped to shine a spotlight on palliative care and how it can help patients as they near the end of their lives. The IOM summarized what the healthcare industry needs to do to overhaul care for individuals with life-limiting or terminal illness, from the perspective of the patient, caregiver, payer and medical institution. Among the findings, the report called for increased training in order to grow the palliative care workforce.
On a regional level, the Pacific Northwest has become a medical hub for palliative care. The National Palliative Care Research Center and the Center to Advance Palliative Care gave Washington State an “A” for the availability of palliative care services in 2011. More specifically, UW Medicine — through the auspices of the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence — employs a strong group of seasoned palliative care professionals as well as emerging leaders in the field, including three recent recipients of the Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Scholar Award who stood out among national applicants.
A Life Changed by Palliative Care
Mark and Alice Beaty faced every parent’s nightmare when their 27-year-old son, Adam, was in a life-threatening car accident in October 2013. Adam was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, a hub for palliative care teams from the Palliative Care Center for Excellence. For weeks, the Beatys weren’t sure if Adam would gain consciousness and recover. In the worst moments of the Beatys’ lives, the palliative care team was there to help them make decisions and understand what to expect for Adam.
“What impressed me so much about the doctors at Harborview was that they were so professional, yet also so kind and approachable. They helped us through every step. They told us to look at the trend. If Adam was doing better, even if it was very slow progress, then that was the right direction. The palliative care doctors gave us a foundation. They grounded us,” Mark Beaty, Adam’s father, explains. Adam had nearly six months of recovery and rehabilitation within the UW Medicine health system, and today, he is back home and doing well.
Plans for the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence
Like many efforts at UW Medicine, the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence will focus on three interrelated areas: providing palliative care at UW Medicine hospitals, conducting research on the topic, and educating physicians, students and other staff and trainees in the art and science of providing thoughtful, expert palliative care. It’s an effort that spans several schools at the University of Washington: medicine, public health, nursing and social work. And it’s an effort, says Randy Curtis, M.D., the center’s director, that is vitally important.
“We saw a real opportunity for the center to provide coordination and support for our clinical, educational and research programs to ensure patients with serious illness and their families feel supported in decision-making and in dealing with the symptoms and the stress of serious illness,” says Curtis. “Our approach to palliative care includes care delivered by palliative care specialists and care delivered by all clinicians caring for patients with serious illness. We focus on ensuring everyone is treated in a compassionate, respectful, individualized way.
“Research and training,” he adds, “will allow UW Medicine to learn more about delivering high-quality palliative care and to share best practices with institutions around the region, the country and the world.”
Cambia has been involved in the center since its beginning. Funding from Cambia Health Foundation helped launch the Palliative Care Center of Excellence in 2012, and — prior to its $10 million investment — the foundation had provided ongoing support totaling $1.75 million.
About Cambia Health Foundation
Based in Portland, Ore., Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate Foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience health care. Founded in 2007, Cambia Health Foundation awards grants in three program areas: Palliative Care, Transforming Health Care and Children’s Health. The Foundation has funded just over $19 million in grants to support these causes; that total is now at $29 million with today’s grant announcement. Cambia Health Foundation’s investments in palliative care advance patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering. Learn more at www.cambiahealthfoundation.org, or follow the Foundation on Twitter: @CambiaHealthFdn.