Press Release


Powerful learning model acts as a force multiplier; extending the reach of limited hospice and palliative care medicine resources and training “Primary Palliative Care Champions”

EUREKA, CA – JULY 10, 2015 –ResolutionCare FUND, an innovator in providing hospice and palliative care medicine (HPM) services and fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, working with Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) announced today that it will deploy a unique learning model called Project ECHO® in a nine-month pilot program to extend the reach of limited specialist hospice and palliative care resources by training primary care teams as “Primary Palliative Care Champions.” PHC is a non-profit, community based health care organization that contracts with the State to administer Medi-Cal benefits through local care providers to ensure Medi-Cal recipients have access to high-quality, comprehensive and cost-effective healthcare. The organization has more than 530,000 members in 14 counties throughout Northern California.

“At a time when healthcare resources are limited, and specialist palliative care resources in particular are severely stretched throughout this country, ResolutionCare Fund is looking at ways that we can extend the reach of our first class clinical team and leverage them as an educational resource,” said Michael D. Fratkin, MD, Founder/Director. “Primary care teams are now the sole source of care for many Americans through most of their lives, and Project ECHO offers a unique way for us to force multiply and train Primary Palliative Care Champions to address some of the shortages we have in access to hospice and palliative medicine nationwide,” he added.

Through a “hub-and-spoke” model, Project ECHO demonopolizes the scarce resource of a palliative care team; distributing valuable interdisciplinary expertise with the use of ongoing case-based learning via videoconferencing technology. By establishing a real-time connection to the ResolutionCare Fund Team at the “hub” (physician, nurse, social worker, and chaplain) teams of learners at the “spokes” gather knowledge, confidence, and fulfillment as well as forming a community of learning with other participants at other “spoke” sites. This model will be used to train “Primary Palliative Care Champions” within primary care practices nationwide to provide high quality, compassionate hospice and palliative care medical services in communities where access to specialist palliative care teams is limited.

The nine-month pilot program with PHC will enable ResolutionCare Fund, using Project ECHO’s training model, to provide HPM training to primary care teams at 10 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) throughout Northern California. The pilot will include primary care and HPM teams meeting twice monthly for 90 minutes via a Zoom videoconferencing platform.

“As a healthcare organization with members dispersed throughout a large region with some very remote locations, the ability of Partnership HealthPlan of California to provide comprehensive high quality palliative care services to all of our members can be challenging,” said Dr. Robert Moore, Chief Medical Officer of PHC. “Our partnership with ResolutionCare Fund, and the implementation of Project ECHO, allows us to train our primary care teams to provide some of those services and meet this challenge, so we are very excited by this opportunity and are looking forward to its success,” he added.

About ResolutionCare

Founded in 2014, ResolutionCare is a pioneer and leader in community based palliative care using telemedicine and telementoring to bring capable and compassionate care to everyone everywhere as life approaches completion. A tandem organization, ResolutionCare Fund, an educational, non-for-profit, fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives and ResolutionCare Professional Corporation, ResolutionCare is dedicated to providing and teaching the highest quality of palliative care and harnessing the opportunities provided by cloud-based videoconferencing technology to care for people with serious illnesses entirely in their home. Team based and person-centered, ResolutionCare supports quality of life, empowered decision making, and self determination for people navigating life’s greatest challenge. The company is headquartered in Eureka, California.

About Partnership HealthPlan of California

Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) is a non-profit community based health care organization that contracts with the State to administer Medi-Cal benefits through local care providers to ensure Medi-Cal recipients have access to high-quality comprehensive cost-effective health care. PHC provides quality health care to over 530,000 members. Beginning in Solano County in 1994, PHC now provides services to 14 Northern California counties – Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity and Yolo.

About Project ECHO

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) based at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, NM, is a collaborative model of medical education and mentoring that empowers clinicians everywhere to provide better care to more people, right where they live. The ECHO model™ does not actually “provide” care to patients. Instead, it dramatically increases access to specialty treatment in rural and underserved areas by providing front-line clinicians with the knowledge and support they need to manage patients with complex conditions such as hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, and behavioral health disorders among many others. It does this by engaging clinicians in a continuous learning system and partnering them with specialist mentors at an academic medical center or hub. As the ECHO model expands, it is helping to address some of the health care system’s most intractable problems, including inadequate or disparities in access to care, rising costs, systemic inefficiencies, and unequal or slow diffusion of best practices. Across the United States and globally, policymakers are recognizing the potential of ECHO to exponentially expand workforce capacity to treat more patients sooner, using existing resources. At a time when the health care system is under mounting pressure to do more without spending more, this is critical.

Download this press release as a PDF