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If palliative care were a drug, patients would be clamoring for it, providers would rely on it and more medical school graduates would be specializing in it. Palliative care has been proven to lower hospital readmission rates and healthcare costs, improve patient experience and outcomes and help people live longer. It gives patients more voice in their care and develops transparency and candor in the patient/provider relationship. There are drugs that don’t do half as much and are easily approved and wildly popular.
So why are so many seriously ill patients suffering needlessly without the benefit of palliative care?