Optum California Outpatient Palliative Care Program Initiative
In 2019, Optum California (Optum CA), a leading medical group in southern California, revamped its supportive care program, leveraging industry best practices to maximize access to high-quality palliative care for patients in their last year of life. Building on a foundational program launched in 2008, key new features of the enhanced program include a) adopting an outpatient focus (clinic and home visits), b) leveraging data science models to identify patients’ 12-month mortality risk to engage patients earlier in their disease trajectory, c) forming a robust interdisciplinary team with a “Care Partner” role – a nonclinical, hired surrogate family member who helps the patient/family with care management, d) clearly defining and distributing discrete outcome metrics in monthly dashboards.
Since January 2020, Optum CA has brought palliative care to 157% more patients in its 2 largest regions and achieved a 50-day LOS. Today it is performing well against national benchmarks. The budget was $1 million with the main expense being clinician and non-clinician compensation/benefits.
Linda Aoyama, MD
Supportive Care Medical Director for North Optum CA
Access to Palliative Care