Holy Name Medical Center officials today announced that Villa Marie Claire hospice was awarded a state budget appropriation for the second consecutive year to fund the development of a model for end-of-life care in New Jersey. Signed into law by Governor Murphy yesterday, the $3 million appropriation was sponsored by Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36), Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37) and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-38).
“Holy Name is proud to continue leading this comprehensive effort to improve the quality of end-of-life care in New Jersey, using Villa Marie Claire as a statewide model,” said Michael Maron, president and CEO of Holy Name Medical Center. “One of the most important healthcare reforms our state must address is improving care for patients in the final chapters of their lives. We know that while life-extending care and other medical treatments may lengthen life, it may be at the expense of quality of life. Our goal is to help patients and families understand the difference and maximize the moments they share in their final months, weeks, days or hours together.”
“During a contentious budget cycle, we are grateful for Senator Sarlo, Assemblyman Johnson, and Senator Weinberg’s unwavering support and leadership on this issue,” Maron continued. “We thank Governor Murphy for including this appropriation in his Fiscal Year 2019 budget.”
According to the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care Report, New Jersey is ranked lower than any other state in the nation in the use of hospice and palliative care. It also revealed New Jersey residents spend 44-percent more days in the intensive care unit compared to the average American and 30-percent more days in the hospital in the last six months of life.
“This funding supports the full spectrum of end-of-life care, encompassing the patient, family, caregiver, provider and community,” Maron said. “Creating a standard for the appropriate use of end-of-life-care resources will result in a reduction in state and federal costs stemming from unnecessary hospital admissions, ER visits, procedures, tests, and treatment.”
The budget appropriation will support the project’s eight key initiatives, including the development of a model for end-of-life-care in New Jersey, which will address every aspect of care in the two years leading up to a person’s death and the 12 months following a person’s death; the development of education, training, and state certification courses for doctors, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare professionals; research comparing end-of-life-experience and quality of life for those enrolled and not enrolled in hospice programs; and policy recommendations for the state Legislature to consider.