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Published on February 23, 2011

Regence Foundation Awards $150,000 to Overlake to Implement Hospital-based Palliative Care Program

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

SEATTLE (February 23, 2011) – The Regence Foundation recently awarded $150,000 to Overlake Hospital Foundation in Bellevue to implement a hospital-based palliative care program at Overlake Hospital Medical Center.  Palliative care is a medical specialty geared toward helping seriously ill patients find relief from the symptoms of their disease.

"Overlake has developed a robust plan to bring palliative care to those patients who need help managing the pain and symptoms of a serious disease," said Kieren Porter, Regence Foundation board chair. "The hospital's comprehensive, interdisciplinary team is well-prepared to counsel patients with advanced illness and to provide them with palliative care."

The Regence grant will help Overlake implement its palliative care program, planned with the help of Foundation-provided training from the Palliative Care Leadership Center (PCLC) and a financial grant in 2010. PCLC is a national training and mentoring initiative to help hospitals start and expand high-quality palliative care programs.

"The Regence Foundation's grant enables us to implement a Palliative Care Consult Service for patients and their families coping with advanced illness and in need of symptom management," said Cathy Whitaker, vice president of patient care services at Overlake. She estimated about 200 patients a year would benefit from the service, delivered by physicians, nurses and support staff including social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, care management and physical therapy.

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

Overlake Hospital Medical Center is a nonprofit, non-tax-supported regional medical center with a network of medical clinics throughout the Eastside. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter, @OverlakeHMC and become a fan on Facebook.

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