"Everything is magnified when the patient is in front of us, and we are trying to manage multiple chronic conditions," he adds. "We need more palliative care specialists to work seamlessly with other health professionals."
Reasons for the shortages include issues revolving around training for a palliative care physician, who may earn $150,000 to $170,000 annually. Although the number of training programs is increasing, there were only 73 accredited allopathic subspecialty training fellowship programs in the United States. That produced about 86 new palliative medicine physicians each year, according to the Center to Advance Palliative Care. In addition, Medicare funding does not support palliative medicine specialty training.
There have been incentives for young physician to go into palliative care, Quill says. In 2006, the American Board of Medical Specialties approved palliative care as a subspecialty. Shortly thereafter, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education certified the postgraduate fellowship training program in palliative care.
Medical schools and teaching hospitals are furthering palliative care on the research front, with Mount Sinai School of Medicine housing the Center to Advance Palliative Care and the National Palliative Care Research Center. The CAPC has established palliative care leadership centers around the country to enable interdisciplinary teams to visit peer institutions.
The Palliative Care Option