Blue Links for Employers

Enhancing the quality of life for members with advanced illnesses

Studies have shown that timely advanced illness care, with a strong emphasis on patient-clinician communication can result in: better quality of life and satisfaction as reported by patients and families; better coping by bereaved family members; care that better reflects patient preferences; a greater likelihood of remaining safely at home; and even increased survival time.

In 2016, we will launch a comprehensive program designed to better support members and their families facing advanced illnesses and the end of life. Nothing is more personal and difficult than the decisions we make when facing an advanced illness. But often the vital conversations about care preferences and priorities never happen, leading to care that is not aligned with patient goals and wishes. Our new Complete Care for Advanced Illness Program is designed to enhance patient-clinician communication during those critical times and support high-quality, compassionate care that honors individual values and preferences.

Key Program Elements

  • Enhanced Benefits – We will enhance member benefits to encourage earlier and expanded use of hospice care. As is currently the case, members do not have to forgo curative care in order to use hospice care.
  • Advanced Illness Support Program – We are developing a program to help critically ill individuals receive high-quality palliative care, at their own homes, for the prevention and relief of suffering.
  • Behavioral Health – We will include behavioral health clinicians as an option for members who wish to discuss and plan for serious illness and end-of-life care. Blue Cross already covers these conversations for most of its members' medical providers.

We are also partnering with Ariadne Labs, led by physician and author Atul Gawande, which has developed a simple, systematic new approach to improving communication between seriously ill patients and their clinicians. We are working with them to expand their program across the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts is fortunate to have so many individuals, organizations, and institutions at the forefront of advancing compassionate, high-quality health care. It is our hope and expectation is that together, we can help ensure that everyone, regardless of economic, cultural, racial or geographic differences, will have their values and wishes heard and honored at all stages of their lives.

Additional communications will follow. If you have questions, please contact your account executive.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
® Registered Marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
© Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
101 Huntington Avenue, Suite 1300, Boston, MA 02199-7611 | 1-800-262-BLUE (2583)