Former CMS Chief Berwick: Hospice, Health Care Needs to Reorient Systems Around Patient Needs – Hospice News

Delivering quality health care requires a moral compass, according to Don Berwick, M.D., former administrator for the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and founding CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. This requires hospice providers to go beyond regulatory compliance when they think about quality, with equitable access as a key component, Berwick said in a keynote at the National Hospice & Palliative Organization (NHPCO) Leadership and Advocacy Conference.

To achieve that level of quality health care, providers must reorient themselves towards customized care that is tailored to the needs of the patients, families and the communities an organization serves. This includes making available a diverse set of service options that make it easier for seriously ill patients to access the right care at the right time, further upstream of hospice.

“The very best definition of quality that I know is meeting the need, and meeting the need you intend to meet,” said Berwick at the conference. “Businesses that fail to meet the needs of the customers that they have chosen, they decline — those businesses will die. Communities and governments that fail to meet the needs of their people cannot thrive. Nations that forget to meet the needs of their people are lost nations, and they can die, too. Exclusion poisons improvement.”

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Health care cannot be designed around patient needs if a wide swath of the population is excluded, according to Berwick. Racial and socioeconomic Source…