The Washington Rural Palliative Care Initiative (WRPCI) is a pilot effort to better serve patients with serious illness in rural communities. Led by the Washington State Office of Rural Health at the Washington State Department of Health, this public-private partnership involves over 24 different organizations to assist rural health systems and communities to integrate palliative care in multiple settings, such as emergency department, inpatient, skilled rehabilitation, home health, hospice, primary care, and long-term care.

Seven rural communities are currently participating in the Initiative. The Washington State Office of Rural Health team is linked to efforts in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, with technical assistance and funding from Stratis Health, pioneers in rural palliative care. The project also had funding support from Amerigroup/Anthem. WRPCI prepared a summary report on the first year of telehealth activities.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialized care for people living with serious illness. Care is focused on relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness and treatment—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve and sustain quality of life for the patient, loved ones and other care companions. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with active treatment. Palliative care facilitates patient autonomy, access to information, and choice. The palliative care team helps patients and families understand the nature of their illness, and make timely, informed decisions about care.

How can other rural communities get involved?

  • A second cohort will be engaged contingent on funding, which is currently being sought. Please contact Pat Justis for more information.

  • This portal has resources intended to help a wider group of rural health communities and organizations.

  • 2019 training dates are open to rural health communities outside the cohort.
    • WRPCI will host a series of talk show style conversations via Zoom throughout 2019. These events are free. All events are on Tuesdays from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Click here to register in advance.
      • Tuesday, February 26 - Co-managing Addiction and Serious Illness
      • Tuesday, April 23 - Spiritual Support of People Living with Serious Illness
      • Tuesday, June 25 - Assessing your Telehealth Capabilities for Palliative Care: Develop from Where You are
      • Tuesday, August 20 - Decisional Capacity: How to Determine Who Can Decide What
      • Tuesday, September 24 - Selecting the Right Telehealth Clinical Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Team

Learn more about the Washington Rural Palliative Care Initiative.




Palliative Care Cohort Organization



Columbia Basin Hospital Ephrata
Columbia County Health System Dayton
Jefferson Healthcare Port Townsend
Newport Hospital and Health Services Newport
Okanogan Palliative Care Team Okanogan County
Pullman Regional Hospital Pullman
Whitman Hospital and Medical Center Colfax



Washington State Department of Health

Pat Justis

Executive Director, State Office of Rural Health
Leader, Washington Rural Palliative Care Initiative