Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Presents Big Ideas in End-of-Life Care

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Presents Big Ideas in End-of-Life Care

What are the “big ideas” in end of life care? The Aspen Institute Health Strategy Group (AHSG) is helping to answer this question.

In 2016, AHSG selected end-of-life care as the subject of their year-long research. The effort was co-chaired by former Health and Human Services Secretaries Kathleen Sebelius and Tommy G. Thompson. Aspen worked with leaders in the field, sought public input and documented their findings in a recently released report titled, “Improving Care at the End of Life.” The Center for Practical Bioethics offered ideas as part of the public input process, a factnoted in the Preface to the report.

We are excited that will provide a keynote address at our Annual Dinner, April 5, where she will discuss these ideas and her role as co-chair of the project.

Practitioners will be encouraged to see the scope and depth of the AHSG five recommendation. They are:

• Build the development and updating of an advance care plan into the fabric of life.

• Redefine Medicare coverage in a way that meets the complex needs of people with serious illnesses.

• Develop a set of quality metrics related to end-of-life care that can be used for accountability, transparency, improvements and payment.

• Increase the number and types of health professionals who can meet the growing needs of an aging population.

• Support model communities embracing fundamental change in the design and delivery of care for people with advanced illness.

Four background papers are included as the second part of the report:

• Overview of the End-of-Life Experience in the United States, by Laura C. Hanson, M.D., M.P.H.

• Care at the End of Life, by Diane E. Meier, M.D.

• Financing Care at the End of Life: Ensuring Access and Quality in an Era of Value-Based Reforms, by Haiden Huskamp, Ph.D. and David Stevenson, Ph.D.

• Doing Right by the Seriously Ill: Ethical Norms for Care Near the End of Life, by Mildred Z. Solomon, Ed.D.

You can find this report online at

Kathy Greenlee joined the Center’s staff as Vice President for Health Policy and Aging in November 2016 after serving the past seven years as Assistant Secretary for Aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.