Here’s an interesting article from the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management that shows that hospice both saves Medicare money on most patients and extends the lives of its patients.
The first finding, that hospice saves the government money, is not a surprise to anyone who works in the hospice industry. We currently have a patient who has been on our service for almost three months. In the month before he came on service he spent 20 days (two different admissions) in the hospital and had somewhere between 4-6 emergency room visits. In the three months he has been on service we have been paid a little over $9,000 for our services. How much do you think Medicare paid in the 30 days before we admitted him? I’d guess he could be on our service for 9 months before we are paid the equivalent of what was spent on his care in the month before his hospice admission.
The second finding was a bit surprising, but not anywhere near as counter-intellectual as most would think. I’ll post more on this on another day.