Former White House health policy advisor: Get the public on board

In case you missed it, this was Chris Dawe last year, shortly after he left the Obama administration, and before he joined Evolent Health — a consulting company founded by the Advisory Board and the Univ. of Pittsburgh Health Plan “to help health systems move towards providing value-based care.”  (Advisory Board, which consults for C-TAC, was founded by David Bradley, now Chairman of Atlantic Media.)

Here Dawe is addressing the Campaign to End Unwanted Medical Treatment (which is in fact a campaign to gin up the public to demand less life-saving treatment.  Talk about perverse.) Continue reading

Distinction without a difference? Guidance from the NCBC

Last month the National Catholic Bioethics Center posted an article that was meant to guide Catholic clinicians on what to do when a patient or proxy or government requests treatment that the clinician considers to be morally wrong [“Transfer of Care vs. Referral: A Crucial Moral Distinction”]

The subject is important and timely, and I looked forward to reading the piece, but unfortunately it misses the mark when it comes to issues where withholding/withdrawing treatment and palliative care would be involved. Continue reading

5 Things You Should Know About Palliative Care

On Saturday, May 17, 2014, I had the pleasure of speaking at a conference in Wooster, Ohio.  The conference, titled “The Healthcare Trojan Horse,” was sponsored by the Pro-life Healthcare Alliance and Wayne/Homes Right to Life.  Following is the presentation as it was written; the actual talk was abbreviated due to time constraints. —Ione Whitlock

The promise of hospice palliative care was that it would provide comfort to the dying, ease symptoms, and help grieving loved ones.  Modern palliative care promises to be Continue reading

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

Cheers!  According to, today is World Hospice & Palliative Care Day: a day to call on all governments to declare “palliative care” (hospice and symptom treatment) a “human right.”  World-Hospice-and-PC-Day

It’s a special day of awareness, to be celebrated this one day, and throughout the year.  A day to take action by signing a petition in support of the Prague Charter.

Pallimed writes:

(A logo to warm the hearts of secular humanists and progressives everywhere.)

(A logo to warm the hearts of secular humanists and progressives everywhere.)

So for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day … I encourage you to increase your awareness about global palliative care issues the whole year through.  But since awareness is real[ly] only the first step, I would also ask that you sign The Prague Charter in an effort to make governments recognize palliative care as a human right.  It is already sponsored by:
– European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)
– International Association for Palliative Care (IAHPC)
-Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) and
-Human Rights Watch (HRW)

(Incidentally, one common bond uniting the four sponsors is the support of George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.)

Continuing from the Pallimed blog post:

Basically [the Prague Charter] asks government to support access to medications, palliative care training, public health policies . . . [and] integration of palliative care into the healthcare system continuum. [emphasis added]

In other words, the Charter wants government to move hospice and palliative care into all aspects of medicine and the individual patient’s medical treatment, from the moment of diagnosis, if not before.  Presumably this would be done by funding and/or regulation.

To put the commentary in context, a word about Pallimed is in order.

Pallimed is a blog that likes to err on the side of withholding and/or withdrawing treatment.  When government-funded advance care planning was up for debate as a section of HR 3200 several years ago, Dr. Drew Rosielle — founder of Pallimed — dismissed opponents as “wingnuts.”   More recently, Dr. Rosielle won financial support from the Hastings Center — a bioethics think tank that churns out guidelines on when to withhold treatment.  (In an unrelated issue, Hastings Center was also involved in the formation of the Earth Charter.)

And the blog has been critical of Catholic teachings in support of life.  When the bishops spoke out in 2009, emphasizing that nutrition and hydration are ordinary treatment, Dr. Christian Sinclair of Pallimed critiqued the revised directives, noting

If you think having members of the [Catholic] church directly becoming involved in health care matters seems theoretical or indirect at best, consider the case of Mr. Welby in Italy in 2006, or Steven Becker in St. Louis in 2000.

Dr. Sinclair urged readers to learn more about the Catholic directives by visiting the website of Compassion & Choices – a radical death-with-dignity group,

Now Dr. Sinclair wants us to sign a petition in support of the Prague Charter. Thanks, but I think I’ll take a pass.

New Dept. of Labor ruling: Minimum wage for home health in all 50 states.

In case you missed it, the Obama administration has issued a rule that will mandate a minimum wage for “direct care” workers (i.e., home health caregivers), extending the rule to all 50 states, including 29 states that currently do not have such regulations.

A map at the Department of Labor website indicates the states (in gray) that will be most affected by the rule. Continue reading