CHRISTUS, Texas Palliative Care Team Up to Deliver Serious Illness Care

Texas Palliative Care and CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health recently formed a partnership to expand access to serious illness care for patients and families in growing need.

The palliative care partnership was rolled out last month with a goal to improve provider coordination and quality of these services across East Texas. Through the partnership, the two organizations will employ a multidisciplinary approach to palliative care delivery.

Joining forces allows more patients and families living with serious illness to gain access to much needed supportive care and services, according to Dr. Suhel Patel, chief medical officer at CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System.


“This is a service that we are pleased to be able to provide to this community,” Patel said in a recent company announcement. “Not only will this meet the needs of our patients and their families, but this also aligns with our CHRISTUS core values of dignity, excellence and compassion. Palliative care eases symptoms and side effects. It improves communication between the patient and their medical team, and among the entire medical team. It improves decision making, and, quite simply, it improves the quality of life for patients and their families.”

Seniors are driving up demand for palliative care in the Lone Star State. This age group is projected to make up more than 20% of the state’s population by 2030, a rise from 12.9% currently.

CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System operates more than 600 medical and urgent care centers, hospitals and clinics across Texas. It provides rehabilitation, therapy, emergency, pediatric and primary care, among other services that now include palliative care through the partnership.


The nonprofit health system is a joint venture partner of LHC Group Inc. (NASDAQ: LHC). The Lousianna-based home health and hospice provider is in the process of being acquired for $5.4 billion by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UHG) subsidiary Optum.

Through LHC Group-CHRISTUS JV, the two acquired CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospice in San Marcos, Texas, which rebranded as CHRISTUS Hospice — Central Texas following the deal’s close.

Through the partnership with Texas Palliative Care, CHRISTUS will now offer these services to seriously ill patients in the hospital setting. The palliative care team will consist of physicians, nurses, advanced care providers, social workers and spiritual care providers.

Texas Palliative Care was established in 2008 when The Hospice of East Texas expanded with these services. The hospice provides end of life and serious illness care to roughly 2,000 patients and families annually across 23 counties in East Texas.

Its interdisciplinary team has grown to six board-certified physicians and three speciality-trained nurse practitioners, according to Dr. Laura Ferguson, hospice and palliative medicine physician at Texas Palliative Care.

“Since its founding, Texas Palliative Care has been a physician-driven service with a focus on providing patients and families facing incurable conditions relief from the multiple domains of suffering and to offer the time and support required to understand, process, and help with difficult decision-making,” Ferguson said in the announcement.

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