Johnson Foundation end-of-life program set for late May launch

The long-awaited call for proposals for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s new $12-million initiative, Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, was expected to be announced at the end of May. Heading up this program will be Ira Byock, MD, president of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, former medical director of Partners Home Care and Hospice in Missoula, MT, and author of Dying Well: The Prospect for Growth at the End of Life. The national program office will be housed on Missoula’s University of Montana campus, and Jeanne Twohig, MPA, has been appointed deputy director.

The program will award three-year matching grants of up to $250,000 for "innovative projects of national significance that are geared to substantially improving the quality of care for terminally ill people and their families. These projects will improve access to comprehensive palliative care across a full range of clinical settings and for patients with a terminal prognosis without limitations imposed by diagnosis, ethnicity, age, or place of residence," states a draft call for proposals obtained by Hospice Management Advisor.

The program plans to build on opportunities in current trends, such as vertical integration and capitation, but is based on hospice and palliative care principles. "Hospices have demonstrated that comprehensive care of the dying is possible, and many people with cancer and AIDS have benefitted from hospice care. Yet, many more can benefit from the intensive end-of-life care that hospices and other high-quality palliative care programs provide," the document states.

There is a July 1, 1997, deadline for letters of intent, which must be mailed, not faxed or e-mailed. Those invited to apply, based on their letters, will have until Dec. 1 to submit finished applications. Awards will be announced next spring. For more information, contact Byock or Twohig at the Practical Ethics Center, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59813. Telephone: (406) 243-6601. Fax: (406) 243-6633.