Friday, August 28, 2015

Notebook Page 7 August 2015

The summer recess for Michigan’s Legislature is quickly coming to an end and while lawmakers have enjoyed some time off, ACS CAN has remained hard at work preparing for the fall session.

One of our ongoing priorities is the issue of palliative care. On August 27th ACS CAN hosted the Michigan Palliative Care Summit in Lansing.  The summit brought together patient leaders, physicians and others from around the state to take an in-depth look at ways to improve palliative care and patient quality of life in Michigan.

Debbie Webster, from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, started the program and provided information on Michigan's Cancer Plan and what the Michigan Cancer Consortium’s five year goals are around palliative care. She was joined by Dr. Gary Roth, the medical director of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association's Keystone Center. The Keystone Center is charged with finding quality measures and initiatives surrounding high risk or critical areas in medicine. He is also a thoracic surgeon
Presentation from Debbie Webster from MDHHS
with extensive experience using palliative care with his patients.  Finally, Dr. Michael Stellini, palliative care director for the Veterans Administration Hospital in Detroit, spoke about his experience in a multi-year VA initiative creating comprehensive palliative care teams—including doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains—and how that has worked to improve patient care.

The presentations provided a framework for a robust round table discussion wherein our experts and others focused in on a few major hurdles facing palliative care in Michigan. Namely: workforce development, availability of in-home care, education and awareness of palliative care among families and patients, and reimbursement and data tracking for providing such care. The group left the event energized and excited to start tackling these issues ahead of the next October gathering.

In addition to palliative care, the ACS CAN Michigan team continues to narrow down our priorities for the 2016 legislative session. If your office is interested in a sneak-peak at what’s to come this session, please contact Matt Phelan at to set up an office lunch and learn.