October 2019 Newsletter

MOLST takes a big step forward

A significant milestone has been reached regarding the Massachusetts Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment form and process better known as MOLST. This month National POLST Paradigm, a 43 state collaborative, upgraded Massachusetts from “unaffiliated” to “active” status.

This achievement is the result of a statewide collaborative process, including the 28-member MA MOLST Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the Department of Public Health Palliative Care & Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council. The committee voted in September to recommend that Massachusetts adopt the new National POLST form and process. The committee has been working diligently since May of 2017 to bring the Commonwealth’s serious illness and MOLST form and process into compliance with the national standard.

“The new national from and process offers no cost, standardized, evidence based tools that consumers can use to understand serious illness care and their treatment choices, and help empower both the consumer and the care provider to have meaningful effective planning conversations,” says Ellen DiPaola, who is the chair of the subcommittee and is also President and CEO of Coalition member Honoring Choices Massachusetts. Having one National POLST form will make it easier for patient wishes to be known and honored, to conduct the necessary research and quality assurance to improve the form, and to educate people about its use, so it can be used correctly in locations nationwide.

If adopted for use in the Commonwealth, the new form and process will also provide invaluable support to build-in a successful governing structure and implementation process. The forms will be made available in several languages and the tools for consumers and care providers will be available for them to download for free.

Read more about the collaborative process and progress to date here.

Reaching a new audience at C-TAC


On October 10, the Coalition’s messaging research reached an engaged audience at the 6th annual National Summit on Advanced illness Care run by C-TAC (Coalition to Transform Advanced Care). Coalition Executive Director Anna Gosline participated in a breakout session panel called “Building Coalitions with Evidence Based Messaging”.

The session was moderated by C-TAC Regulatory Advisor Marian Grant, a nurse practitioner dually certified in Acute Care and Palliative Care/Hospice. “People were very eager to learn about the Coalition’s research." Grant says, “Most organizations don’t have the capacity for messaging development and testing.” Grant noted that one of the findings that resonated most with the audience was how some research participants reported having neither relatives nor loved ones and responded better to language that used the term people who matter most. “There were a lot of head nods about that,” she recalled. Another result the audience responded to was that that many didn’t find the argument that doing advance care planning is a gift to loved ones either credible or compelling. Grant is in the process of starting a coalition of her own in Maryland and recently used the messaging lessons she learned from Coalition research to revise a one-page summary she received in the hopes that the new language would increase engagement.


The other participants on the panel were Peggy Maguire, President of Cambia Health Foundation, who has partnered with us on our messaging research from the beginning and Kate Meyers, Senior Program Officer at California Health Care Foundation. For more information about the conference visit the website.

Quality of Life Summit draws medical professionals, community together for advance care planning

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Founding member of the Coalition Andrew Dreyfus, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Zamawa Arenas, founder and CEO of Flowetik Marketing delivered the keynote address at the second Cape Cod Quality of Life Summit on October 17 in Hyannis. The pair spoke about new evidence and strategies for talking about advance care planning. Coalition member Cape Cod Healthcare, led by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Donald A. Guadagnoli, and Tina Soares, Director of Quality of Life Initiatives, organized the event in partnership with their broad community task force. For more information on the Cape Cod Quality of Life Initiative, visit the website.

Messaging toolkit to be unveiled at Coalition annual meeting November 18

Members who attend the Coalition’s annual meeting November 18 will get a wealth of information about our messaging project aimed at creating unified consumer language that supports our shared vision for high quality serious illness care in Massachusetts. We will share insights from our latest round of testing. We will also reveal the final version of the toolkit and how your organization can use it for your marketing and social media. Coalition Co-chairs Dr. Atul Gawande and Maureen Bisognano will be there to guide our discussion. The meeting is November 18 from 2pm-4pm at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, located at 101 Huntington Avenue, Boston. To register click here.