C-TAC initiative gives voices to those suffering from serious illness

Improving advanced care management with greater choice

By David Longnecker, MD

The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) launched its national initiative in October to work towards a day when advanced care is delivered based on the preferences of the patient and family. Its mission is to change the healthcare delivery system, enhance provider capacity to deliver person-centered care, including palliative care, and improve public and private policies for those with advanced illness.

C-TAC’s goals include several key reform initiatives in the care for serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, COPD, diabetes, stroke, and dementia, in addition to reaching out to the community to increase knowledge of advance care options.

C-TAC is a unique innovation for empowering consumers and changing the way our country handles advanced illness. At the heart of C-TAC’s work is better care for the seriously ill and support for their families. Organizations that are part of this initiative, including the AAMC, the American Heart Association, and many other organizations representing private stakeholders, providers, and individual payers, are developing clinical and educational approaches to foster team-based care, with patients and families as key members, directly involved in treatment.

We are at a crossroads in the health care system, with many reforms necessary to engage patients and families more fully in their care decisions and their care management. There needs to be greater outreach to Americans about the options they have to care for themselves and loved ones when they are suffering from long-term chronic illnesses.

C-TAC will focus on several key areas that enable patient engagement and shared decision making:

Using methods that work with evidence-based models. C-TAC will design, evaluate, and share best-practice care delivery models for clinical and community settings to ensure high-quality, patient-centered advanced illness care. These new care delivery models will provide better health outcomes and better experiences for patients and their families.

Empowering the public. Patients and families need to have the understanding, freedom, and knowledge to access the right type of care at the right time, which can save them and our health system thousands of dollars by avoiding needless treatments and therapies.

Educating health professionals. C-TAC seeks to ensure that health professionals have the tools to better serve patients and their loved ones by developing new training models essential to providing comprehensive, inter-professional, team-based care driven by patient goals and values.

Creating policy change. We will advocate for policies at all levels that are supportive of C-TAC’s care delivery intervention and inter-professional training models. In addition, C-TAC will pursue a broad policy agenda through federal and state legislative, regulatory, judicial, and administrative initiatives, and private policies, to improve care for those with advanced illness.

Read more about our advanced care reform plans here.

David Longnecker, MD, is director of Health Care Affairs at the Association of American Medical Colleges. He can be reached at dlongnecker@aamc.org.

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