Judy Thomas, JD

Directing the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California since 2000, Judy Thomas has helped improve the illness and end of life experiences of hundreds of thousands of Californians and their loved ones. Today the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California includes a staff of twelve, a highly active board of 13 accomplished professionals, and an effective statewide network with a wide range of individuals, organizations, and foundations dedicated to advancing care for those with serious illness.

Under Ms. Thomas’ leadership, beginning in 2007, the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California led a successful statewide effort to implement Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), a standardized medical order form to indicate specific types of life-sustaining treatments a seriously ill patient chooses.

Judy is an attorney with over 20 years in healthcare. Before law school, she worked in the early field of managed care as a computer programmer for the nation’s first preferred provider organization. Later, as a lobbyist for LeadingAge of California and the California Hospital Association, she focused on aging and long-term care issues.

Judy chairs the National POLST (Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment) Paradigm Task Force, working to ensure POLST forms are interpreted consistently across the country. Judy serves on the Donate Life California advisory board, and is Past President of the California Culture Change Coalition, which was formed to make nursing homes great places to live and work. In 2015, Judy was named a Practice Change Leader by the John A. Hartford Foundation.