New Effort Underway To Improve Dialogue on End-of-Life Issues

A statewide coalition, organized with the assistance of the NCMS, is readdressing the issue of end-of-life care in order to educate healthcare professionals and the public about the importance of end-of-life planning, provide guidance on how to approach this difficult subject with loved ones and patients; and to provide education on how to execute various end-of-life documents to better ensure patient wishes are appropriately communicated and honored. The coalition held its first meeting on Thursday, May 24, 2012, at the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM).

The partnership will be overseen by an Executive Committee consisting of seven members, and will be chaired by Michael Norins, MD, who also serves as the chair of the NCMS Ethical & Judicial Affairs Committee. Other executive committee members include:

  • Anthony Caprio, MD, Assistant Professor UNC-CH School of Medicine
  • Jonathan Fischer, MD, Physician Consultant to Community Care of North Carolina
  • Dee Leahman, Director of Community Education for Hospice & Palliative Care Center
  • Deborah Love, JD, MBA, MA, Clinical Ethics Outreach Partner for UNC Center for Bioethics
  • Melanie Phelps, JD, Deputy General Counsel, NCMS; Associate Executive Director, NCMS Foundation
  • Pam Silberman, JD, DrPH, President & CEO of NC Institute of Medicine 

The Executive Committee will oversee a state-wide coalition of around 30 stakeholders from across North Carolina. The coalition will be divided into eight task forces:  EMS Education; Education for Professionals; Education for LTC or Assisted Living; Consumer Education; Acute Care Education; Sustainability and Funding; Quality and Research Data; and Registry/Electronic MOST. Regional task forces also will be formed for the following areas: eastern, southern, northwest, mountain as well as Triangle, Triad and Charlotte regions.

These task forces all share the same goal of improving the understanding of and communications about advanced care planning to ensure that patient wishes are known and honored.  Members interested in participating in any of the above task forces may contact Melanie Phelps at [email protected] or 800-722-1350. Click here for more information on end-of-life resources and NCMS work on this issue.


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