U.S. Health Care Spending Rose to $3.8 Trillion in 2019

U.S. health care expenditures rose 4.6% to $3.8 trillion during 2019, growing at a similar rate to 2018, which saw a 4.7% increase, according to a new study in the journal Health Affairs. These data come at a time when hospices are working to demonstrate their cost saving capabilities to payers in value-based payment programs, […]

MEDPAC Reports Rise in Hospice Use, Calls for Payment Cap Cut

More Medicare beneficiaries are electing hospice than ever before, and they are generally receiving care for longer periods of time, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC). As the commission reports these gains, MEDPAC continues to recommend to Congress a 20% reduction in the aggregate cap for hospice payments. During 2019, hospice utilization among […]

United States Ranks Low in Palliative Care Duration

The average length that patients receive palliative care in the United States is lower than in other countries, a recent study reported. Much of the nation remains underserved despite rising demand, with limited payment opportunities restricting growth. A review of palliative services delivered worldwide indicated a wide variation in length of care received by people […]

Concurrent Hospice Care Demo Yields $26 Million in Cost Savings

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM) demonstration has reduced the agency’s costs by $26 million to date. The demonstration, established in 2016 and scheduled to end in June 2021, is designed to test the efficacy and efficiency of providing hospice concurrent with curative care. CMS announced the […]

More Veterans Gravitating Toward Home-Based Hospice Care

Rates of hospice utilization were higher among veterans than other Medicare decedents, according to recent research. With more than half of veterans receiving care in the home, the findings reflect a growing industry-wide trend toward community-based care. The study from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Based Primary Care (VA-HBPC) found rates of […]

Medicare Advantage Enrollees Less Satisfied with End-of-Life Care

Families of Medicare Advantage enrollees report being less satisfied with the end-of-life care their loved ones received than those covered by traditional Medicare. Stakeholders have called for careful quality monitoring as the Medicare Advantage hospice carve-in approaches. Families of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries were more likely to say that care was “less than excellent,” and indicated […]

Higher Proportion of COVID-19 Patients Discharged to Hospice, SNFs

More patients suffering from the COVID-19 virus have been discharged from the hospital to hospice or skilled nursing facilities this year compared to typical Medicare fee-for-service patients. A report from the data analytics firm HealthPivots compared hospital discharge numbers from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) using inpatient claims information. Researchers examined […]

Communication Influences Families’ Hospice Choice, CAHPS Ratings

About 80% of family caregiver survey respondents indicated that they would select a hospice based on the providers’ ability to communicate in a timely fashion. Timely communication can also impact the ratings that family’s give hospices in the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey, according to new research conducted by Citus Health.  […]

Caregiving for Hospice Patients Adversely Affects Health

Family caregivers for patients in hospice or who are suffering from serious illness tend to see declines in their own health. A study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s (BCBSA) found that the stress and pressure of caregiving can contribute to conditions such as high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, as well as increase […]

Hospices Strategize for Longer Patient Stays

A majority of patients continue to experience short lengths of stay in hospice, in many cases limiting their ability to receive the full benefits of those services. Confronted with this reality, providers are seeking new ways to connect with patients further upstream in the course of their illness.  Nearly 54% Medicare decedents received hospice care […]