Chronic Disease Management & Palliative Care: Virtual Care vs Hospice Care


Welcome to the Executive Innovation Show Podcast, brought to you by One Touch Telehealth. During this podcast, host Carrie Chitsey talks with Dr. Tim Ihrig and Kim Kuebler. 


Timothy Ihrig, M.D., M.A. is Chief Medical Officer at Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care. He is the founder and CEO of Ihrig MD & Associates. He cares for the sickest and most vulnerable people around the world. His unparalleled success in transforming the culture of medicine proves true patient-centered care has incredible value – increasing quality of life, as well as the length of life.


Dr. Kim Kuebler is the Founder and Director of the Multiple Chronic Conditions Resource Center, highlighted by the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services for providing interdisciplinary resources to improve care for the largest and fastest-growing U.S. patient populations. She is an award-winning author of 8 textbooks and multiple peer-reviewed publications on chronic conditions and palliative care. Multiple appointments to federal and state initiatives in pain and palliative care. She is a clinician, educator, researcher, and patient advocate.


Listen to this episode of The Executive Innovation Show Podcast as we discuss: 

  • Today we talk with two doctors who are on the front lines of palliative and hospice care, Dr. Tim Ihrig and Dr. Kim Kuebler. With more seniors looking to age at home, how has this changed the industry? Listen to this in-depth conversation about the future of palliative care and how virtual care is making a huge impact. 

  • Should we be thinking about the end of life palliative and hospice care as separate or the same? What’s the difference? Dr. Tim Ihrig states that while the reimbursement models for the two terms are different, caring for that patient is of utmost importance. He believes we just need to be focused on providing a high-quality end of life care. 

  • In today’s healthcare system, do patients really have a choice? Listen to Dr. Ihrig’s answer here, what he says might surprise you. 

  • “True informed consent, patient decision making is really, ‘Do you want to start chemotherapy on Tuesday or Thursday?’ Well, if you've got a widely metastatic pancreatic cancer… your median life expectancy is six to eight months, no matter what we do.” Are doctors being honest with patients when giving them their options after a potentially fatal diagnosis? Listen as Dr. Tim Ihrig of  Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care details his sentiments on “stealing hope” from patients. 

  • Are we selling false dreams to patients? Listen as Dr. Tim Ihrig and Carrie Chitsey talk about the difficulties patients can face when starting a treatment like dialysis. How can doctors do a better job of helping a patient receive a higher quality of life other than aggressive treatments that will hinder their ability to live? 

  • How can palliative care doctors be a good translator of the truth for end of life patients? What question should doctors be asking to make sure that the patient has a good quality of life? Is chemotherapy or other treatments always the right answer? Dr. Ihrig states that “We should stop focusing so much on that endpoint and shift it and say, how do you want to live?"

  • With Baby Boomers aging at home and Gen Xers now serving as caregivers, Dr. Ihrig gives his advice on how to ask the right questions and have those hard conversations about death? How should they demand the truth about treatment? 

  • What advice does he have for healthcare executives? He expresses that we should be moving away from healthcare reform and talk about how we can reform care. Dr. Ihrig believes that it starts with honest conversations, empowering people to ask questions, shifting the narrative. 

  • Dr. Kim Kuebler has worked both on the chronic disease and pain management sides of healthcare. How does pain management fit in with palliative care? She breaks down some insightful statistic about chronic pain management across the country today: 

  • 3 out of 4 Medicare beneficiaries have 2 or more chronic conditions

  • 80% of adults will have low back pain at some point in their life

  • What is the difference between palliative care and hospice care? After three decades within palliative care, Dr. Kuebler explains how the two need to be separate. Listen to her take on why palliative should be preventive medicine here. 

  • Should palliative care start when the patient has been diagnosed with a chronic disease? In pain management, Dr. Kim Kuebler believes that even though her patients are necessarily dying, she still sees herself as a palliative care provider. 

  • Can technology help transform pain management programs in the future? How can primary care physicians implement remote monitoring plans with technology like telehealth that helps decrease overall health care costs and improve patient care?

  • As more patients get access to their health information, how is the conversation changing with their doctors? Dr. Kim Kuebler breaks down how patients are becoming more informed in the information they receive about their health. She explains why it needs to be a team approach to take care of chronic care patients. 

  • As always, we ask these healthcare executives what is keeping them up at night. Listen to their answers here. 


Keep up with Dr. Tim Ihrig by connecting on LinkedIn


Get more resources on pain management from Dr. Kim Klueber and Multiple Chronic Conditions Resource Center. 


Learn more about One Touch Telehealth and how telehealth can help providers improve access to care for patients with chronic conditions. Download our “What Is Telehealth?" White Paper to learn more. 


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