Does Hospice Reduce Medicare Costs?

A new study of hospice care in the United States shows that Hospice services are able to save money for Medicare and bring superior care to patients with chronic illnesses and their families, according to a release from Kaua‘i Hospice. The study done by the Duke University had appeared in the October 2007 issue of the professional journal Social Science & Medicine and had included the following observations:

For one, Hospice has helped reduce Medicare costs by an average of $2,309 per hospice patient. And the use of hospice has decreased Medicare expenditures for people who suffer from cancer until the 233rd day of care and for non-cancer patients until the 153rd day of care. Medicare costs have been reduced for 7 out of 10 hospice recipients if hospice has been used for a longer duration. And by increasing the length of hospice by just three days, the savings due to hospice increases by nearly 10%, from around $2,300 to $2,500 per hospice user.

Hospice has proven to help people live with dignity, comfort and compassion and it brings all the needed support to the family caregivers and the fact that it’s a cost-saving device to Medicare is an additional benefit, according to Ken Zeri, Kokua Mau president and Hospice Hawai‘i president.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization had reported that 1.3 million patients received hospice care across the United States in 2006.

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