Palliative care utilization in ovarian cancer patients can lower their chances of rehospitalizations, according to recent data.
Patients with ovarian cancer who have received palliative care had fewer hospital readmissions compared to others, according to a recent study presented at the 2023 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer from the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) in Tampa, Florida.
Palliative care patients were less likely to be readmitted within 90 days of a hospital stay, according to Dr. Alex Francoeur, study author. Francoeur is a Los Angeles-based obstetrics and gynecology specialist and resident at UCLA Health.
“When we looked at women who had an inpatient palliative care consultation during an admission for ovarian cancer, what we found was that the rate of readmission dramatically decreased from about a [41%] readmission for each to [about] 27%, which correlated to an odds ratio of about 0.59, which was quite a significant drop,” Francoeur told CancerNetwork.
Researchers conducted the study using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Readmissions Database. They tracked patients over the course of a year to determine how many times each was readmitted.
Another common trend uncovered by the research was that ovarian cancer patients who were referred to palliative care services were more likely to have multiple comorbidities.
The results help to demonstrate palliative care’s value proposition. Payers and providers alike recognize the benefit of reduced rehospitalization rates.
For palliative care providers, it can indicate better quality for patients. On the payer side, the value is in curbing high-acuity, high-cost services and lowering overall health care expenditures.
The ability to demonstrate quality and cost savings is key for payers in value-based reimbursement, where much of palliative care providers’ payment avenues orbit.
Currently, palliative care providers can bill for physician services through Medicare Part B. Other channels for reimbursement include Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits, as well as payment arrangements with ACOs and Managed Services Organizations (MSOs).
Palliative care is also an element of the hospice component of CMMI’s value-based insurance design (VBID) demonstration.
“We found that there was a decrease in the overall number of readmissions, by about 50%,” Francoeur said. “When we looked at the overall cost, there was a decrease in the cost of the index hospitalization of almost $2,000. Both of those findings were significant as well.”