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Published on February 17, 2010

Regence Foundation Awards $11,800 to Overlake to Launch Hospital-based Palliative Care Program

Palliative care helps ease pain and suffering for patients with life-threatening illnesses

SEATTLE (February 17, 2010) – The Regence Foundation recently awarded $11,800 to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue to develop a formal hospital-based palliative care program.  Palliative care is a medical specialty geared toward helping seriously ill patients find relief from the symptoms of their disease.

“Most people associate palliative care with hospice, but palliative care extends well beyond hospice to anyone who needs help managing the pain and symptoms of a serious disease,” said Michael Alexander, Regence Foundation board chair. “Hospitals are a critical resource for patients who need help with symptom management, and ensuring palliative care is available to patients earlier in the disease process is a priority for The Regence Foundation. We’d like to recognize Overlake for their work in this important area, and for making this a priority in the community.”

The Foundation grant to Overlake is to help the hospital plan and develop its palliative care program.  In addition staff from the hospital will attend a Palliative Care Leadership Center (PCLC) training in Portland, Oregon. PCLC is a national training and mentoring initiative to help hospitals start and expand high-quality palliative care programs.

“We estimate that approximately 800 patients each year could benefit from an inpatient palliative care program,” said Cathy Whitaker, vice president of patient care services at Overlake.  “With the help of The Regence Foundation, we can develop a comprehensive program that extends palliative care to all patients who need it and improves the end-of-life experience for those who are the most seriously ill.”

The grant to Overlake is part of The Regence Foundation’s Sojourns grantmaking program to promote hospital- and community-based palliative care services.  Through Sojourns, The Foundation aims to foster best practices, leadership and collaboration that help people with life-threatening and incurable illness to access quality palliative care in their own community.

About The Regence Foundation
The Regence Foundation is the corporate foundation of Regence, the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain region and a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. A 501(c)3 grantmaking organization, the Foundation partners with organizations driving significant change in health care delivery and accessibility in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Through its Sojourns program, the Foundation also supports organizations advancing quality palliative and end-of-life care. For more information visit or

About Overlake
Overlake Hospital Medical Center is a nonprofit, non-tax supported regional medical center. For more information, log on to