Saratoga Hospital Expands Palliative Care Program Beyond Inpatients

New York state-based Saratoga Hospice has launched a community-based palliative care program, citing increased demand for those services. This continues a trend in recent years of acute care providers moving into home-based care.

Saratoga Hospital for many years has provided palliative care to their inpatients. This expanded program will extend their reach into patient homes and a palliative outpatient clinic.

“More and more patients are living with one or more serious illnesses,” said Richard Falivena, vice president and chief medical and physician integration officer at Saratoga Hospital. “Palliative care can have a dramatic, positive impact on their quality of life and that of their families.

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Leading the community-based palliative program is John Pezzulo, M.D., a primary care physician who is also certified by the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board and the American Board of Family Medicine, with subspecialty certification in hospice and palliative medicine.

“Dr. Pezzulo has invaluable experience in this medical specialty, including many years as the cancer liaison physician on our Cancer Control Committee,” Falivena added. “Our community will benefit enormously from his expertise and compassion.”

John Pezzulo, M.D.

Saratoga Hospital is the only acute-care facility in its county. The hospital’s multispecialty practice, Saratoga Hospital Medical Group, provides care at more than 20 locations.

A rising number of hospitals and health systems are expanding their services into the community, particularly when it comes to palliative care.

During 2019, North Dakota-based CHI-St. Alexius Health System has extended its palliative care program to include outpatient and home-based services. The hospital’s inpatient palliative care team in 2013 became distinguished from its hospice services. The program took off after the hospital began participating in the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer program, as well as achieving certifications such as trauma care, for which palliative care was a benchmark.

Athens, Ga.-headquartered St. Mary’s Health System has expanded their hospital-based palliative care program outside of their walls and into patients’ homes in three Georgia counties. SSM Health and Allina Health made similar announcements last year.

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