Week 9: 3/14-3/20-The Role of the Private Sector

While the previous post focused on the public sector influence on palliative care, this week will transition the focus to the private sector which is composed of companies, organizations, and individuals who are not under the umbrella of the government.

As I highlighted previously, a few organizations significantly paved the way for Palliative care and promoted for its motion from obscure to mainstream. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) has worked tirelessly to advocate for and educate the public on palliative care to optimize end of life care and quality of life (1, 2). Other key private sector organizations that originally played a role in promoting palliative care as a specialty include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the George Soros’ Open Society (GSOS) (3). RWJF serves as an organization on the verge of the future of health care by supporting research and innovative ideas for the advancement of multiple health topics, including palliative care (4). Similarly, the GSOS has advocated for recognizing and “responding quickly to the challenges and opportunities of the future” (5).  While GSOS encompasses a variety of topics including media and governance, they include health outcomes (i.e. palliative care) as one of their primary focuses (5).  Another important private sector organization that produced the original palliative care guidelines is the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care (3).Logo_horizontal

When discussing palliative care, it is imperative to recognize the work of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). This organization focuses mainly on the implementation and incorporation of palliative care into various health systems and organizations (6). Another important private sector organization that has significantly promoted the advancement of palliative care and H.R. 3119 is the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) which is a membership organization aimed to advance palliative care through “education and training, resources, networking, and advocacy” (7).

It is important to note that the AAHPM and NHPCO worked together to create an imperative and ground breaking organization known as the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care (NCFPC) (8). This coalition has gradually included multiple organizations to create a strong and united force to promote and advocate for palliative care (8). Furthermore, this coalition is on the forefront of policy and regulatory movements including H.R. 3119 (8).

On the other end of the advancement of palliative care is the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC). This organization is unique as it is the first establishment to create an environment for the collaboration of small scale investigators conducting research in the area of palliative care (9). This is significant because palliative care research remains an under-acknowledged focus that is often ignored by large research corporations. By facilitating the exchange of information between current researchers, this organization is able to actively advance the specialty of palliative care (9).

It also important to acknowledge organizations who have not only supported palliative care as a specialty but have acknowledged open support for H.R.3119. These include the following:

-American Cancer Society Action Network

-American Geriatric Society

-American Academy of Pain Management

-American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

-Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association

-National Association of Social Workers

-St. Baldrick’s Foundation

-Visiting Nurses Associations of America

-Oncology Nursing Society (10)

While the advancement of palliative care and H.R.3119 is dependent on the public sector and policy; private sector organizations have paved the way and continue to advocate and lobby for the much needed changes at the government level.


Photo Credits (in order of appearance):

Header: http://www.chpcc.org/education-research/hope-magazine/hope-magazine-                           2012/hope-magazine-2012/

  1. https://ickhmer.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/private-sector-in-cambodia-has-yet-to-become-a-critical-development-partner-in-extractive-industry/
  2. http://www.nhpco.org/nhpco-0
  3. http://www.broadcastnewsresource.com/news/Healthcare-Quality-RWJF
  4. http://ec-cdn-assets.stitcher.com/customfeedimages/480x270_54441.jpg
  5. http://www.nationalconsensusproject.org/
  6. http://www.hopetels.com/pitchers/palliative-care-image.gif
  7. https://media.licdn.com/media/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAYRAAAAJDZhMmNjNGJjLWE1YjgtNDA2Zi1iYjRkLWZhNTAyZmVkOWY3Mg.png
  8. http://aahpm.org/templates/AAHPM/img/logo.png
  9. http://www.nationalcoalitionhpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/logo_nchpc2.jpg
  10. http://www.nationalconsensusproject.org/images/logo_npcr.png
  11. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/16/health/in-palliative-care-comfort-is-the-top-priority.html?_r=0


  1. Connor, S. R. (2007). Development of hospice and palliative care in the United States.OMEGA, 56(1), 89-99. doi: 10.2190/OM.56.1.h
  2. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. (N.D.). National hospice and palliative care organization. Retrieved from http://www.nhpco.org/nhpco-0
  3. Loscalzo, M. J. (2016). Palliative care: An historical perspective. American Society of Hematology Education Book, 2008(1), doi: 10.1182/asheducation-2008.1.465
  4. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2015). How we work. Retrieved from http://www.rwjf.org/en/how-we-work.html
  5. Open Society Foundations. (2016). About us. Retrieved from https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/about
  6. Center to Advance Palliative Care. (N.D.). About the center to advance palliative care (CAPC). Retrieved from https://www.capc.org/about/capc/
  7. American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. (N.D.). AAHPM and the specialty of hospice and palliative medicine. Retrieved from http://aahpm.org/about/about
  8. National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care. (2014). National coalition for hospice and palliative care. Retrieved from http://advancingexpertcare.org/national-coalition-for-hospice-and-palliative-care/
  9. National Palliative Care Research Center. (2013). About the center. Retrieved from http://www.npcrc.org/content/16/How-is-the-Research-Center-Unique.aspx
  10. American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine et al. (2015). Support letter to Representative Engel and Representative Reed. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/advocacy/letters/2015/PCHETA_Support_Letter_114th_Congress-150721.pdf

2 thoughts on “Week 9: 3/14-3/20-The Role of the Private Sector”

  1. Thank you for highlighting private sector organizations in palliative care. I think that without the private sector accomplishments, we might not be where we are today with the advancement of palliative care practice. This is especially true when it comes to research. The focus of medical care today is evidence-based, and palliative care should not be an exception. It is great that this is a goal of the NPCRC (n. d.). Palliative care is a difficult area to conduct research, but in order to define best practices it is necessary.

    National Palliative Care Research Center. (n. d.). About palliative care: Why is palliative care research needed? Retrieved from: http://www.npcrc.org/content/15/About-Palliative-Care.aspx#tabs-2453


  2. Thank you for your extensive discussion of the private sector’s contributions to the field of palliative medicine. I am interested if you think that any pharmaceutical companies or device companies could benefit from entering the palliative medicine “market”. For example, could pharmaceutical companies introduce new and better methods to manage symptoms that accompany “end of life”? As I have been researching health policies surrounding opioid use and abuse, I am noticing that some of the palliative medicine providers I work with are frustrated with the lack of medications available to treat symptoms. For example, there is a significant amount of pain that is non-responsive to opioids. So, what does a provider do? Give large amounts of opioids or other medications that dull the senses, and thus help pain. Do these diminished senses then contribute to a less active or fulfilled life? Unfortunately, there are not a lot of other pain management options out there that are covered by insurance. This is why the American Academy of Hospice and Medicine has an important job of promoting research. In one of my palliative rotations at an organization that prides itself on research, the attendings commented numerous times about how little literature is out there and how old it is. Furthermore, he highlighted how little money had been invested in improving palliative medicine. A quick review of NIH showed only one study directly related to palliative medicine but there were several related to pain management. One of the issues, as you have mentioned previously, is there is not a consensus on what palliative medicine should entail, when it should begin, and who should initiate the process. I look forward to reading more!


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