Medicare Patients Enrolled In Hospice Receive Better Care

Medicare patients who enroll in hospice care receive better care
at a lower cost, with the greatest savings if they enroll 15 to 30 days before
death, according to a study published in the March issue of Health Affairs. Amy
S. Kelley, M.D., M.S.H.S., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in
New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from 3,069 subjects who were part
of the Health and Retirement Study (where 1,064 were enrolled in a hospice
before death) and their Medicare claims. Savings were examined for four periods
of hospice enrollment: 1 to 7, 8 to 14, 15 to 30, and 53 to 105 days before
death. The researchers found that Medicare saved $2,561 per patient enrolled in
hospice care 53 to 105 days before death, in line with a previous report. However,
the program saved $2,650 per patient enrolled 1 to 7 days before death, $5,040
per patient enrolled 8 to 14 days before death, and $6,430 per patient enrolled
15 to 30 days before death. Hospice patients also spent fewer days in the
hospital and had fewer in-hospital deaths over all time periods. "Instead
of attempting to limit Medicare hospice participation, the Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services should focus on ensuring the timely enrollment of
qualified patients who desire the benefit," the authors write.

Source/more: Health Day Physicians’ Briefing

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