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The Essential Doctor-Patient Conversation

A limited series on the inevitable — and movements to change the death and dying experience in the U.S.

Doctors see it over and over — the bad death…and the very bad death. They know that the absence of advance care planning often leads to great misery and suffering. The desire to have these essential conversations is strong but the proper structures, incentives and time are scarce for opening an emotional can of worms.

This series will explore systemic normalization and scaling of advance care planning conversations through value based care structures, dedicated training and physician practices putting workflows and resources in place. 

Episode 1

The essential role of ACP in value-based care

How advance care planning is an essential part of the patient care value chain to improve care quality & efficiency at every stage of patients’ lives.

Episode 2

Systemic support for ACP

How payers, providers and delivery systems are collaborating  to embed advance care planning into clinical workflows — so that conversations happen earlier & continuously, and patient wishes are available when they are needed.

Episode 3

Workforce enablement of ACP at the provider level

How physicians overcome preconceived and true barriers to advance care planning conversations — including time, hope, culture and training.


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Paul Aitken, MD, MPH

CMO and SVP of Population Health

Dr. Paul Aitken is a board certified physician specializing in Family Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Medical Management. In his current role with AvMed, he is responsible for clinical operations including population health management, care management, quality management, utilization management and pharmacy management. Dr. Aitken has a focused passion for the design and implementation of population-based initiatives to measurably improve health outcomes, manage unwarranted cost and improve value in healthcare. Dr. Aitken received his medical degree from the Jacobs School of Medicine at SUNY – Buffalo and completed his residency training at Duke University Medical Center in Family & Community Medicine. He went on to earn a Masters of Public Health from Columbia University while completing his fellowship in Public Health & Preventive Medicine at SUNY – Stony Brook.

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Henry Simkin, MD

Family Medicine Physician
Valley Medical Group, Northampton Health Center

Dr. Simkin is board certified in family practice and his clinical interests include sports medicine and low back pain. His undergraduate education was completed at Williams College and he received his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine, where he also received the Henry Bakst Award for excellence in Community Medicine. He completed his residency at North Carolina Medical Hospital. Dr. Simkin is affiliated with Cooley Dickinson Hospital. He joined the Valley Medical Group (formerly the Massachusetts Permanente Medical Group, associated with Kaiser Permanente) in 1986.

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Monica Soni, MD

Associate Chief Medical Officer
New Century Health

Dr. Monica Soni is a board certified practicing physician specializing in Internal Medicine with over a decade of experience in both inpatient and outpatient safety net care. Her focus is to ensure high quality, cost effective care for patients and an optimal provider experience.

Prior to her current role, Dr. Soni served as the Director of Specialty Care for the LA County Department of Health Services, the 2nd largest municipal health system in the US. Her areas of expertise include reducing practice variation, optimizing transitions of care, and effective deployment of primary-specialty care co-management models including e-Consultation. She is also an Assistant Clinical Professor within both the UCLA Department of Medicine and Charles R. Drew University Department of Internal Medicine in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Soni received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the UC, San Francisco and was a fellow in the California Health Care Foundation Leadership Program.